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November 19, 2015

The First Snow

Well, it finally happened. It was bound to come sooner or later and today it did. Snow. White, cold, fluffy, slippery, slushy snow. Yesterday the ground was clear, today it is covered. Yesterday it was an extended autumn, today it is winter. Yesterday we hung on to the memory summer, today we look forward to the promise of spring.

It’s funny how much things can change, literally, overnight. Of course the arrival of winter isn’t the only switch that gets flipped on us, is it?
•The doctor calls with your test results
•Your daughter shows you her engagement ring
•The boss calls you into his office
•A careless driver runs a red light
•Your wife shows you a little plastic stick with “+” on it
•The cashier says, “Your card has been declined”
•The plane lands in your new home country
•A big business deal falls through or finally goes through
•You are handed your diploma
•A goal is scored with one second remaining in regulation time
•The sold sign appears on your lawn

And just like that everything has changed and there is no going back. Some of these changes are wonderful. Others you’d rather avoid. All of them leave your life changed and it most likely will never be exactly the same again.

Change is an inevitable part of life – much like the shifting of seasons. Change comes whether we are ready for it or not. Whether we want it or not. Whether we like it or not. Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 500 BCE) is the first to be credited with coining the phrase “Change is the only constant.” The older I get the more I am convinced that Heraclitus was right. Buildings change, people change, governments change, economies change, technology rapidly changes, even my own understanding and perception of the world changes. However there is one notable exception to this particular rule.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8 NIV)

Jesus does not change. He is always the same. That is a rather profound thought to consider in and of itself. Can you even wrap your mind around something that never changes? Even the things that seem most permanent in our world eventually, gradually shift and morph and change. But take it one step further and imagine someone who does not change. Your parents change, your friends change, your kids change and even you have changed. You age. You gain or lose weight. You gain or lose hair. You get taller or shorter. Your facial features are altered (did you know your nose and ears never stop growing?). The very concept of a person who does not change is virtually incomprehensible. I can sort of imagine it in an artificial, fictional environment, but in the real world? I have a hard time grasping it.

But believe it or not, Jesus’ unchanging nature is not the most profound concept here. What really blows my mind is how an unchanging being could at the same time be completely relevant and relatable throughout millennia. Imagine if someone from the first century, the Middle Ages or even the turn of the century (ie. 1900) was dropped into your home, office or church. Would they fit in? Would they connect? Or would they stick out like a sore thumb? A fish out of water? A complete misfit? And yet, for over 2000 years Jesus has been relating to and connecting with people of every tribe, tongue and time period. Every culture, class or country. How is it possible that someone who is completely unchanging can at the same time be completely relevant to the diversity of mankind over all of history? How is it that His teachings have been radically impacting people’s lives for thousands of years?

On the basis of no other facts but this, the message of Christ bears investigating. What else could do this? Who else could pull this off? If you haven’t done so already, you need to look into this guy and figure out what He’s all about. But be warned, if you do, it just might change your life.

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