So it’s 2014. The New Year has come and gone. 2014 — it sounds so futuristic to Baby Boomers like me. I was born three years after the end of World War II; to a lot of people I know, that sounds like the end of the Civil War. But being a child in the 1950s, a student in the ’60s, and off to seminary in the ’70s, all that seems like yesterday. I remember my seminary graduation, and I still treasure the photo of me in my new pulpit robe, flanked by proud and rather astonished parents. This year I’ll retire and begin a new career as a seminary professor (they’d be even more astonished). Where did the time go? If you, my reader, are still young, treasure the time. It passes more swiftly than you imagine.

Quite honestly, life in 2014 isn’t as different as I imagined it would be when I was young. Back then we watched Stanley Kubrick’s movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” (remember Hal, the mutinous computer?), and we considered the 21st century as an unimaginable future. When I was young, I honestly thought that by 2014, we’d be vacationing on Mars and driving cars that fly. Yes, much has changed, but much has stayed the same. The other day I was driving to a church member’s home, guided by the friendly, all-knowing voice of my GPS: “Turn right in three hundred feet …” I thought of my dad, who would have been astonished at such technology. He also never could have imagined that we’d be carrying phones in our pockets — phones that we’d seldom use as phones — or Siri, to whom we can ask the meaning of life and get a smart-aleck answer. Some amazing things have changed. Do you know that the car you drive has more computer power than the lunar lander module that put the first astronauts on the moon?

My parents — or my younger self — could not imagine what I’m doing at this moment, writing a magazine column on my iMac, whose luminescent screen illuminates my study. Nor could they imagine that I’ll send the finished product to my editor using something called email. Some things, indeed, have changed.

I recently saw a T-shirt that had emblazoned on the front, “Change Is Good.” On the back was, “You First.” I suppose that sums it up. Even though cars don’t yet fly (unless you consider Dallas traffic), the world has changed considerably, and for much of it I am grateful. Medical care is so much better than it used to be, and I’m a great fan of “non-invasive surgery.” My dad had open-heart surgery. Today they would have threaded a tube up an artery, put in a stent, and sent him home the next day. Change is good — most of the time.

The mysterious author of the Hebrew book of Ecclesiastes examined everything “under the sun,” and found nothing new — and the changes he found were, in his estimation, “vanity, and a striving after the wind.” I try to avoid his brand of cynicism, but I’m glad the early divines included him in the Bible. I, too, in my seasoned years, have mixed emotions about some changes, but I celebrate many more. And so I’ll embrace this New Year with more hope than fear. Change, after all, is good. You first.