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Putting on my Christmas Face
by Amy Kenneley

Looking at old photos warms my heart. Turning the pages of Christmases past, I can smile at the photo of the kids sitting beside me as I read the Nativity story to them on Christmas Eve. Or the silly photo of us wearing bows stuck to our foreheads.

I see the delight on the face of the little girl who got her pink cardboard kitchen for Christmas, her dance of joy. I see the quiet smile of the little boy who pushed his Tonka truck all around the Christmas tree; the mischievous twinkle of the boy who played his new snare drum on and on….and on.

I see the grin of the boy who got his play "shrumpet" and how his cheeks got all puffed as he blew. Or the angelic look of the young boy who put on the hand-crocheted beret by mom, regardless of the teasings.

But as I turn the pages, I see my children's faces age. Plump cheeks thin. Hair changes color, grows long or short, disappears. Bright wide-open eyes that were full of wonder now put on eyeglasses to read the tag on the present. The elements-sun and sunburn, wind buffets and life buffets have altered the lines of their faces. The scrapbook documents all this.

But you know what? When I look, I don't see that at all. They are never old to me. My brain tells me one thing-my heart tells me something else.

If they seem ageless in my eyes, I wonder what I look like to them? Do they see the hills and valleys of pallid skin, or do they see the flush-cheeked younger me? Do they still remember my thick brown hair, or is the thinner white all they now recognize?

When photos are taken on Christmas day, the camera lens will capture the "real" faces of all of us; but I will see those faces through the lens of love.

Young faces in candlelight and tree-glow, snowball fighting red faces, tired faces that waited up for Santa, thoughtful faces hearing the story of Jesus' birth. Those are the Christmas faces I knew and know always, despite time.

This year I will put on my own Christmas face: eyes full of joy, and a big smile for all of my blessings.

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