By Steve Gregg
As we come to the end of the year and our final pastor’s letter of 2019, I want to start by saying how grateful I am for God’s faithfulness to us as a church family. That is true on many fronts, such as baptisms, new members, our new youth pastor as well as one of our strongest financial years ever as a church family. This financial stability has allowed us to not only be more proactive in our ministry efforts, it has allowed us to be more generous to our partners as well. Please continue to be faithful in your giving even as the year wraps up. While it’s been a good year, it’s important to finish strong. For those who are planning to give an end of the year gift to the church, I would remind you Sunday is the last Sunday to place something in the offering. If you are giving your gift through the office, please have those in the church office by the end of office hours December 31, or postmarked by the 31st. Thanks again for being a conduit of God’s grace through your tithes and offerings to the Creekside family.
On another front, even as we get ready for the new year ahead, Kim and I have been spending more time than usual looking back. Some time ago, we became the designated keepers of the old films and videos from both our families. With her mother’s recent passing, Kim sat down to get these films sorted and digitized so we could pass them on to our kids and beyond. It has been bittersweet to go through them and be reminded of old places and stories. I was especially struck though by watching my father’s old films, some going back to the 50’s. I noticed how many of them focused the camera on things: a house my dad was building, a parade in the small Indiana hometown, airplanes flying over head, even a lake we vacationed on as kids. In these films, people were, maddingly at times, absent. There were fleeting glimpses of family, an occasional few seconds of my mother holding me as a child, the blur of my brothers running across the screen, a family reunion with almost every member with their backs to the camera. Now, to not be too hard on my dad, he was other sources of family photos and slides, but I found my self saying over and over, just focus on the people. The thought that came to mind was the things that seemed important at the time, over the years aren’t really that important at all. I don’t really care what Kentucky Lake looked like in 1964. But I would sure love to see more than 2 seconds of my Grandma Gregg, who passed away when I was 10. The reality is my dad probably didn’t think about me sitting with my kids watching these almost 70 years later seeing folks that I only know from stories. And I am so, so grateful for the films that do show people, like the one of my older brother learning to read a bike when he was 5 or my mother holding me as a baby, even if its only for a few seconds. But the contrast between those films and Kim’s videos of our family was striking. Whereas my father focused on things, Kim’s video’s are squarely focused on our kids. (At least our oldest ones, sorry Nate. We ran out of gas.) She followed them and caught smiles and giggles, disinterested play and everything in between. I am grateful for her eye and her attention to the people.
All of this begs the question, what will I focus on in the new year? Will I focus on things that in the end really don’t matter as much as the things of inestimable worth of right under my nose: my family, my friends, the church family, and my relationship with my Heavenly Father? Whatever New Year’s resolutions you might make, be sure that at the top of the list are the things that really matter and will matter in the years to come.
May God richly bless you in the days and weeks ahead.