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Is Christmas still about family, Faith and community?

On-the-ScenceOn the Scene with Crystal Chanel

Is Christmas still about family, Faith and community?

On paper and in textbooks, Christmas is a religious holiday celebrated differently all around the world by billions of people. In London, swimmers meet Christmas morning at Hyde Park for the Christmas Day Serpentine Swim also known as the Peter Pan Cup Race. While in Berlin, Germans take part in a traditional Christmas ice swimming session. In Chile, many Catholics attend a special church service for 9 days before Christmas which is known as Novena, and in India, Christian worshippers attend a midnight mass church service. Across the globe, we can see Christians attempting to remain spiritually connected during Christmas by honoring the birth of Christ in their lives with either a church service or a community cleansing.

However, conversely, many Americans crowd the malls and grocery stores over-spending on food and gifts. In fact, most Americans may agree that Christmas has become so commercialized that the pressure to accumulate unnecessary debt is almost unavoidable.

DSC_0003This year, I internally declared enough is enough and decided to use my influence to create better traditions and embrace the true meaning of the Christmas season: family, faith and community. Thankfully, my adult brother (20) and my mother agreed, and we collectively opted out of material gifts, decorated houses, ornamented trees, and over the top 12-dish dinners. Instead, we planned a Christmas experience that we will all remember for years to come.

Our pre-Christmas turn up consisted of a Vision Board Party for family and peers where we gathered at my long-time friend Chanel Diana Walker’s vintage boutique, Lace Style Agency Emporium, located in east Fort Lauderdale.

About 10 dreamers including myself broke bread with a very tasty charcueterie platter provided by Kitchen Killa Culinary Solutions and indulged in one of my favorite specialty holiday cocktails. Ranging in age from 12 to over 50, we sat Indian style on over-sized pillows, clipping and gluing pictures from magazines while visualizing the next season of our lives. I opened the event with my personal testimony recalling how when God saved my home from foreclosure, my car from repossession, and transformed me from a secretary to a CEO, I relied solely on my faith to “see those things that are not as though they were.” It was a powerful moment as guests recalled times where they too had to “walk by faith and not by sight.”

Between Jay Z lyrics, you could hear laughter, more testimonies and explanations of why vision would be so vital in the coming seasons. “Community Church” was definitely in session.

On-the-Scence2Afterwards, my mother, my brother and I headed further east to check into a beachfront hotel suite. We arrived to a spiked egg nog greeting, and instantly knew we had made a great choice. We set our alarms for 6:30 a.m. and ended up on the beach with three flute glasses and a bottle of champagne Christmas morning. While sipping bubbly, we sat in awe of the Lord’s handy work: the ocean, the skyline, and eventually, the sunrise. Powerful rays of light broke free of the surrounding clouds and distributed energy up and down the Atlantic coast as other people who gathered with loved ones sat in gratitude, giving thanks and having faith that our next seasons will be even more blessed than the last…

In this season, it is my sincerest prayer that we individually embrace our power to break free from traditions of old and create new hope for ourselves and communities for seasons to come. Happy Holidays family.

Crystal Chanel

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