It's midafternoon Christmas day and most of the family is in a catatonic, calorie-induced stupor. I'm not far behind them.

I realized this morning that I'm at that golden spot in life where my kids toys are beginning to get really fun. For instance, the kids got a ping-pong table (Kelsey bought a 'vintage' table in perfect shape at an estate sale a while back - twenty five bucks!). Okay, now I love ping pong. Score one for Dad. Then Grandma ponied up for a dvd player and small home theater sound system...for the kids. HEE HEE HEE.

Not to say that I didn't manage a few fun things gifted directly to me. Courtesy of my beloved Kelsey, I became the Last Human Being on the Face of the Planet to aquire a copy of U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Normally anything that has created 2 years of positive buzz would absolutely drive me nuts, but this is an incredible album by an incredible band. Much of the spirit of it is tied to 9.11.01 for me. The cut "New York" has probably never sounded like it was intended to when written.

In the wacky-yet-useful catagory, my mom bought me a scooter at Goodwill! (again, to keep up with the children).

My favorite gift is a new wedding band. I lost my old one a few months ago...and felt naked without it. Kelsey eBayed a very cool wide titanium band for me and the day it arrived, she found the old one! Now I have two wedding bands, but still one wife. As it should be.

Now that the house is quiet (the dishwasher even went silent a few minutes ago) and can ponder the actual purpose of the day. Immanuel. The ultimate in cross-culture...cross-being, even. The eternal one taking on mortality, creating his own need of the care of a teenage girl, maturing into mission that would take the life He had lowered Himself to live. The pile of gifts do not diminish His day to me. They celebrate it.

What once was hurt / what once was friction
What left a mark / no longer stings
Because Grace makes beauty / out of ugly things

Bono is right. Grace does make beauty out of ugly things. Today, we celebrate Grace's birthday.

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