Dear Hyde Park Family,

If you think about, Advent is a strange season.

We spend four weeks waiting for the birth of a child who was born 2,000 years ago. We look forward to the return of a Jesus who we believe is already with us. So, which is it? Celebrating what God has done, or looking forward to what God will do?

The answer, not surprisingly, is that both are true. And therein lies the value and the creative tension of Advent.

Advent seems particularly important this year, as strange and unsettling as this year has been. But maybe this tension between the “already” and the “not yet” is exactly what we need, perhaps more than ever.

  • In a year when we have faced a racial reckoning as a society, when some prefer to emphasize how far we have come as a country in terms of race, and others point out how far we have yet to go, we need Advent. God’s grace has indeed enabled us to make progress against systemic racism since the earliest days of slavery, but that same relentless grace pushes us toward a more just and perfect love for all people. As I’ve heard it said, “God’s grace loves us enough to meet us where we are, and loves us too much to leave us there.”
  • In a year when we have often longed to go back to the way things were, we have also pushed ourselves to adapt and innovate many aspects of ourselves, even better than before. Advent teaches us the beauty of both remembrance and imagination, the push and pull of both the past and the future, and encourages us to look for God’s grace in every moment.
  • In a year when both fear and grief have shaped much of what we have thought and felt, Advent reminds us over and over again, “Do not be afraid.” The God who is always with us is also coming again. As the old hymn says, “Twas grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”

God is both reliable and surprising, constant and unexpected. We can rest in the assurance that God will never leave us or forsake us, while looking for the God who “makes all things new.”

So, friends, welcome to Advent. Jesus is indeed already among us, and we need Jesus to be born anew in us. It is a beautiful journey to be on, together.

Grace and peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

ESTIMATE OF GIVING CARDS
Thank you to those who have already submitted an estimate of giving card for 2021. We are off to a great start, and need you to submit one if you have not yet done so. Click here to fill out a card in a private, secure way.

COMMUNION THIS SUNDAY
This Sunday, we are once again celebrating communion together, either online with bread and juice in your home, or via drive-through communion at the Hyde Park campus, starting at 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. We will also be serving communion to those who have registered to attend our new outdoor tent service at 9:30 a.m. Information and registration for that tent service are available here.

CHRISTMAS EVE AT HYDE PARK!
Join us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus! Our Christmas Eve services will be online at 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11 p.m. We will also have brief, onsite, outdoor Candle-lighting Ceremonies on the Hyde Park campus (around the Courtyard Fountain) and The Portico campus (around the Homeless Jesus sculpture). Specific times and further information are available at hydeparkumc.org/Christmas.

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