I wrapped a birthday gift for a friend today, and wanted something special with which to decorate it. I thought of lavish bows or artificial flowers, but they lacked appeal. Suddenly my eyes fell on today’s stash of sea shells; their beauty and grace captivated me. I glued them on the wrapped package, joined by streamers of colored ribbon. The shells captured the beauty and delicacy of the sea, intricate husks of once living creatures, still incredibly lovely in their opalescent splendor. I thank you, dear Lord, for the exquisite beauty of these shells, for the complexity, their abundance, their grace. You bless our world anew each day with gifts of delight. Like these discarded sea shells, may our bodies too be made beautiful by the message we carry. Amen.