So many friends and colleagues reached out to express sympathy and encouragement to my family and me over the last few days as we struggled to deal with the death of my father. Your support is so meaningful and valuable. Thank you for all that you’ve done to help us in this difficult time. I appreciate every expression of care and concern.

One of the best-known scriptures from the Bible is found in the book of Ecclesiastes—I’m sure you’ve heard it. It begins, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

In spite of the above average temperatures this week, there are many things to remind us of the change of the season: The leaves that are falling from the trees and accumulating in the yards. The reluctant emergence of sweaters, then jackets, and, soon enough, overcoats. Extended coverage of the Redskins.

I’ve already discovered the first pothole of the new season—inconveniently emerging on my route to work. And then, this morning, a sudden drop in the temperatures—back to something closer to our average. I’m already feeling sorry for the poor little trick-or-treaters, who may be forced to wear jackets over their costumes for their Saturday evening candy collecting.

And, as if to reconfirm our knowledge of the season: how many times do you suppose you will be told by the media, your fellow workers, and your friends to “fall back” this weekend?

Some look at these moments of autumn and see the loss and decay. It’s easy to feel that way. But buried inside that short verse—“To everything there is a season”— is an unquenched spark of hope.

The word “season” does not describe a place, but a time—and time does not stand still.

Under the canopy of all the things that make up our world, time is constantly moving forward. There really is a “time to every purpose under heaven.” The seasons change—and our lives change with them. Every day of our lives brings us new meanings, new purpose, and new opportunities to understand that all these ordinary moments add up to something quite wonderful: life!

In recent weeks, I’ve been made keenly aware of the changes that life can bring. I’ve felt the chill of autumn. I’ve watched the leaves fall and thought about how life is constantly changing. And I’ve thought about how life is tied not to the seasons, but to time and to the purpose of life itself. In these autumn moments we acknowledge the cycle of life, but we also find hope and the promise of new life that will surely come as well. Life is not static; it is dynamic and changing. And we change with it.