Families in Sutherland Springs prepare for first Christmas after deadly shooting

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SOLEMN HOLIDAY: The 26 angel ornaments on the tree in Sutherland Springs have the names of each shooting victim. (KTRK)

Christmas is a time for family and traditions, but in Sutherland Springs, there will be 26 chairs empty this holiday.

The victims of the horrific mass shooting at the First Baptist Church are being honored with a Christmas tree featuring 26 angel ornaments.

Terrie Smith told KSAT-TV she coordinated the tree lighting as a means of healing.

"I felt that this was an opportunity to help all the families come together and the community," Smith said.

Residents gathered on Sunday to break bread over a Thanksgiving feast.

Smith said the 26 angel ornaments that shine on the tree will be given to their families after Christmas, each figure adorn with the name of a victim.

Melissa Salinas said the victims' families have to have faith during this very emotional time.

"We know that they had faith in God and we do too, and if we have that then there's nothing to worry about," Salinas said.

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