We all have those faces we remember at Christmas; the memories of those we’ve shared the holiday with, some still with us today, others forever with us in our hearts.
Families, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, all faces taking their place in the Christmas photo album, faces we can see with our eyes closed when this album turns its pages one after the other traveling the years of Christmas past, pausing for those special streets down memory lane when we reminisce and savor those traditions, moments, surprises, changes, and even some let downs.
What is it about the faces of children at Christmas that delights me so?
Maybe Christmas for me as a child was magical. While being one of six kids, there wasn’t much money for presents to crowd the tree like Christmas trees of today. But I remember mother always making sure our favorite dolls were wrapped for us to find and open come Christmas morning, bringing smiles to five girls who haven’t forgotten those dolls; an indelible Christmas memory.
Christmas as a child was simple though I was so unaware. The faces of our Christmas card included six kids, cousins, parents, grandparents and church family. Celebrations weren’t centered around gifts, but on faces called family, for which I considered myself a very rich kid.
The faces of a simple Christmas I enjoyed as a child now reflected itself in the faces of my small children being raised by me a single parent. We didn’t have much in those early Christmas’, but my children’s holiday photographs tell a different story; we had what money couldn’t buy, each other.
There’s no mistaking the gift of a child’s face at Christmas.
By the tree.
Sitting with Santa.
In their church Christmas program,
Imagining the day the church stage
being shared with children of their own.
Or enjoying Christmas dinner at their grandparents.
I find it funny how you forget what gifts you received each year for Christmas, but you remember like yesterday those faces you enjoyed a holiday dinner with, some faces you’d give anything to find seated again at the table.
Being abundantly blessed as we all are, Christmas adds a few new faces to our family photo album throughout the years.
A new brother; A new sister; a new husband for me.
New faces in the Christmas program.
And new faces in the Christmas card.
Interestingly how the faces in the Christmas card changes as times goes by. Sure loved receiving holiday greetings from my college son and his roommate one year realizing my hilarious kid kept his goal of not cutting his hair for a year. Made me laugh. The sentiment of this postcard blessed me as it reminded me a busy student took time to think of his mother.
Somehow though the faces of Christmas always takes me back to when I was a child.
I loved our simple tree with its sparse decorations, yet enamored how the tinsel sparkled against the lights like stars on a dark night.
I was crazy over our matching pajamas,
all those Christmas cards that came in the mail, the homemade cookies stored in Tupperware containers and duct taped in the freezer until Christmas dinner, mom’s amazing ham and all its trimmings, my sisters and brother, my grandparents, and how could I forget,
my favorite childhood doll Little Patti Playful.
While it is written in the old song we sing,
Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year,
it is the hope that we celebrate the faces in our lives each and every day of the year like its Christmas.
Christmas is just a day, a wonderful day for sure.
But the faces in those old photographs of Christmas past and new ones in our Christmas’ yet to be, should bring a smile to our faces everyday as it is because of these faces, albeit imperfect, reminds us we are a “photo album full” of very rich kids.