Register today for VBS 2022!

Happy New Year

By Steve Gregg

Happy New Year Creekside!

As we come to the end of 2023, I find that this year I am more reflective than usual. These reflections and thoughts are not only more pronounced, they are also more varied. I described it to someone that it’s as if there are 2 or 3 radio stations playing at the same time, but instead of varied kinds of music, it’s one station of joy, one of grief, and another of gratitude.

The joy comes from several areas, but mainly from seeing the flourishing of so many people I love, including our Creekside church family. Seeing so many families welcoming their first baby into their family has been a consistent source of joy. Seeing how far God has brought someone in a relatively short time from isolation into community and a dramatically new life. It’s having a church budget discussion and, because of your generosity, prayerfully considering how much to increase ministry budgets for 2024. There are just so many good things going on around me, and us as a church, that I am reminded that it’s important to enjoy them for the good gifts they are to all of us.

Along with joy, however there is also grief. Though this grief comes from different areas, I think it’s mainly the passage of time and finding myself moving from one phase of my life to another.  When Rosie, our daughter, was married this past summer, it was such a special day for Kim and I on so many fronts. And yet, as background to the day’s events, there was an underlying awareness that the relationship had changed and she would never be a daughter in our house in the same way again. While that’s a good thing, as a parent there was a palpable sense of loss mixed in with the joy. In speaking with folks going through similar changes it seems to be a common thread. I am finding it helpful to remember that it’s not only okay to lament or grieve a loss, it’s good. Scripture, especially the Psalms, are full of lament. It’s a good thing at times to be sad at a loss or a passing. Could this be why so many older folks (of which I’m now one) ) can tend towards being grumpy or gruff? Is the root of it grief? If so, it’s far better to be sad and lament, letting the Lord do His work of comforting us and carrying our burdens, rather than lashing out or blaming others.

Finally, gratitude. Whatever emotional station is playing in my heart and mind, I always try to end here. Like an after dinner sweet or a post workout glass of cold water, I want to end my time listening to and focusing on the sense of gratitude that this year brings. I have been given another year with Kim, my family and friends to enjoy them and see God at work. In the church, I get to see answers to prayers that were prayed years ago being fulfilled in front of me in the most remarkable ways. I have said that if you had told me years ago that God would be at work in Creekside in the ways that He has, I would not have believed you. But here we are; not perfect by a long way, but walking with Jesus and growing in His grace every day. This gratitude helps me to have a peace of mind about 2024 and the question marks ahead, knowing that I have seen God’s faithfulness again and again. I can let go of the results and simply seek to be faithful with what is in front of me. God’s fruit will be enough, whatever it turns out to be.

As  2023 ends and we step into the unknown of 2024, what “stations” are playing on your emotional radio? Whatever they are, be sure to listen and learn, ending  with gratitude and the knowledge that the same Father that walked with you through 2023 is there to walk with you into the new year. Whatever it brings, it’s always helpful to know that He will be there at your side through it all. Happy New Year Creekside family!