The town of Paradise lies in ruins among the fire-scarred foothills of the Sierra Nevada in Northern California – but a Christmas miracle could be rising from the ashes.
The good folk of Paradise, California, have likely tamped down their expectations for this Christmas season. With most of the homes destroyed by the Camp Fire just last month, it's going to be a scramble to get family, food, and presents together for a celebration. But Pastor Tim Bolin of Paradise Alliance Church says there's at least one thing that's coming together for the community.
"We're going to do a Christmas Eve service in our building," he tells OneNewsNow. "Our electric company just hooked our power up today, and our water company hooked us up today so we can get the main auditorium cleaned out."
With a theme of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," the event "could be a launching point of hope and of Christmas and of Christ and the gospel," says the pastor.
So on this one day, perhaps for just a few hours, the community can think about "Joy to the World" and "O Holy Night" and maybe even "Jingle Bells" – instead of how they've seen fire and they've seen rain.
"Our church holds about 1,200 people, and with the whole community and all the churches involved we think we're going to need three services," Bolin reports. "We're going to make a path to our church from the valley so people can come up and go to service with us that day."
Samaritan's Purse will be on hand to serve about 3,500 dinner boxes for people who attend – a Christmas blessing that will truly allow them to be home for Christmas.