December 17, 2023

Worship live on Sundays in person at 11:00 am,
or on YouTube at noon.


“Joy to the World! The Lord is Come”
G.F. Handel
led by Mary and Cynthia


Adapted from Psalm 36:5-6, 9
Leader: Lord, your love reaches to the heavens
and your faithfulness to the skies.
People: Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
    your justice like the great deep.
Leader: For with you is the fountain of life.
People: In your light we see light.

Open our eyes, Lord, that we might see Jesus! Open our eyes, Lord, to the needs of our neighbors in need! Open our eyes, Lord, to your Light conquering the darkness. Amen. 

Joy to the world! The Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! The Savior reigns;
Let all their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.

Covenant Hymnal, #146

Kelly and Sam Vetter and their children

Isaiah 55:12-13

You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn bush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.

Isaiah 9:1-3
Reflecting God’s Light
Pastor Ryan

Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
And let your lights appear;
The evening is advancing,
And darker night is near.
The Lord is now arising,
And soon He will draw nigh.
Up, watch in expectation!
At midnight comes the cry.

See that your lamps are burning;
Replenish them with oil;
Look now for your salvation,
The end of sin and toil.
The watchers on the mountain
Proclaim the Lord is near.
Go meet Him as He comes now
With alleluias clear.

All you who wait His coming,
Rehearse the joyful song,
Which we shall sing in glory
With all the angel throng.
The holy feast is waiting,
The gates wide open stand.
Rise up, you heirs of glory!
The Master is at hand.

Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for,
Above this darkened sphere!
With hearts and hands uplifted,
We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption
That sets Your people free.

Covenant Hymnal, #136

giving opportunities:
Zelle® to:

“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
led by the choir

Praise God from whom all blessings flow 
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

We continue to pray for: Nikolas Arden, Theresa Bonk, Messian Burgos, Frank Coszach, Vira Coszach, Art & Rosa Hamilton, Trevor Hanks, Mary Smith, Steve Staurseth, and Phillip, son of Iris Velez

Ministries & Mission
Gary & Mary Lou Sander, serving in Colombia; Renee Nicholas, serving as the national director for InterVarsity’s Graduate Healthcare Ministries

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.  Amen.

Natten går tunga fjät,
runt gård och stuva
kring jord som sol’n förlät,
skuggorna ruva

Då i vårt mörka hus,
stiger med tända ljus,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia

Natten var stor och stum,
nu hör det svingar
i alla tysta rum,
sus som av vingar

Se, på vår tröskel står,
vitklädd med ljus i hår,
Sankta Lucia, Sankta Lucia

Hosanna, Son of David,
Blessed be his holy name,
Glory to the Son of David,
Who comes in the name of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest,
Hosanna, hosanna.
Glory to the son of David,
Who comes in the name of the Lord

Now it is Christmas time,
O now it is Christmas time
Our hearts are filled
With love and gladness

This is the time of year,
O this is the time of year
When joyous songs
Will banish sadness

* GOSPEL LESSON: Mary Spriggs
John 8:12-20

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; Your testimony is not valid.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on My own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, My judgment is valid, for it is not I alone who judge but I and the Father who sent Me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18 I testify on My own behalf, and the Father who sent Me testifies on My behalf.” 19 Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would know my Father also.” 20 He spoke these words while He was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested Him, because His hour had not yet come.

Nu tändas tusen juleljus
på jordens mörka rund
och tusen, tusen stråla ock
på himlens djupblå grund. 

Now shine a thousand candles bright
Around the world’s dark sphere;
The deep blue sky is set alight
As myriad flames appear. 

O star that shone o’er Bethlehem,
Now let your kindly light
With tranquil hope and glory
Shine in ev’ry home tonight. 

To ev’ry dark and anguished heart
Send down your ray divine,
And may the light of God’s own love
Like Christmas candles shine. 

Listen, listen; hear the angels singing?
Listen, listen: “Glory be to God!”
Listen, listen; hear the angels singing?
“Glory, glory, glory be to God!”

Glory be to God, in the highest,
In the highest, in the highest.
Glory be to God, in the highest,
On earth, on earth, goodwill to all
Glory be to God, in the highest
And on earth goodwill to all!


Stilla natt, heliga natt,
allt är frid,
stjärnan blid
Skiner på barnet i stallets strå,
och de vakande fromma två
Kristus till jorden är kommen,
oss är en frälsare född 

Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
‘Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace. (2x) 

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born! (2x) 

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love’s pure light;
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. (2x) 


L: Go in peace to love and serve the Lord
P: Thanks be to God

Hymn to Joy
Ludwig van Beethoven
led by Mary and Cynthia
please remain seated during the postlude

We’ll be back here next Sunday. We hope you can join us. Information on

Thank you to Leslie Hodgkinson for helping to lead us in worship today!

Please wear a nametag
We’ve had a number of visitors and new attendees lately, and it’s very important that we not only welcome them warmly to our church but also allow them to attach a name to a face. We’re asking everyone to return to our old practice of wearing nametags on Sunday morning. Blank nametags and Sharpies will be available both in the narthex and in the sanctuary.

RECC Advent/Christmas schedule
We are now in the midst of the busiest time of year in the life of our church. Here are the remaining dates for all of the various holiday activities for which you’re invited to participate and/or enjoy as a spectator:

* Axiom Brass Quintet Concert – Monday, December 18, 7:00 pm

* Christmas Carol Jeopardy! – Sunday, December 24, after worship

* Christmas Eve service – Sunday, December 24, 7:00 pm

Axiom Brass concert
A beloved Ravenswood Covenant tradition, the annual Axiom Brass holiday concert will be held tomorrow, Monday, December 18, at 7:00 pm in the RECC sanctuary. Axiom Brass is a world-renowned brass quintet with an eclectic and wide-ranging repertoire, and their annual holiday concert often features Christmas pieces from around the globe that are little-known in the U.S., as well as innovative arrangements of old holiday favorites. Admission is free and is open to the public.

New Covenant Home Altar available
The winter quarter issue of the Covenant Home Altar, our denomination’s daily devotional, is now available in the narthex and in the lobby. It’s free, so please take home a copy!

Sunday School and Faith Forum
Sunday School and Faith Forum will meet at 10:00 am every week, unless otherwise noted. We are still looking for folks who are willing to help out with Sunday School. Please speak with Beth Anderson, Bekah Carlson, or Kelly Vetter if you’re interested. Also, please check with the church office to make sure that you have an up-to-date background check if you are going to work with the church’s children in 2023-24.         

Scripture reader sign-up
We are seeking people to read the scripture passages of the day as part of the worship services for the first quarter of 2024. If you are willing to be a scripture reader, please add your name to the sign-up sheet in the church office or contact Gregory Sager or Pastor Ryan.

Covenant Harbor is hiring
Covenant Harbor is still looking for some kitchen staff and volunteers. All inquires can be made to Sandy Wendtland at .

Summer staff applications for 2024 are now open on the Covenant Harbor website as well. They are already hiring for next year’s summer camp positions. If you have any questions, please contact Emma Mueller at

All of these details can also be found on the camp’s website at

Pastor Ryan’s office hours
Pastor Ryan’s office hours at church are typically Tuesday thru Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you would like to meet with Pastor Ryan please call the church office in advance to schedule an appointment.

Coffee hour changes
There is now a coffee hour bulletin board downstairs in the fellowship hall! (It’s right next to the kids’ serving window.) Please look there for updated serving instructions as well as to find out what team you’re on. We’ve had some turnover, so we encourage you to sign up to join a serving team if you haven’t done so already. A self-sign-up will now be available on the board so that you can pick which Sundays work best for you. As always, thanks for serving!

Thursday evening Bible study
The weekly Bible study meets Thursdays at 7:00 pm. We are studying the Gospel of Mark. The Bible study meets in the upstairs lounge. For more information, please contact Gregory Sager in the church office at (773) 784-7091 or

We now have Zoom available again for those who would like to take part in the Bible study but cannot be physically present. The Zoom link for the Bible study is:

Meeting ID: 839 2337 6849
Passcode: 318853

Join Us in Sponsoring a Student in the NPTS SRA Program
North Park’s School of Restorative Arts offers a MA in Christian Ministry and Restorative Arts, allowing free and incarcerated students to study together. This unique degree program is designed to prepare individuals for ministries of restoration in contexts susceptible to violence and includes courses in trauma, race relations, nonviolent communication, conflict transformation, restorative practices, and transformative justice, in addition to Bible, theology, and history.  In partnership with the Illinois Department of Corrections, this four-year degree is currently offered at Stateville Correctional Center with 80 incarcerated men and a first cohort of 20 women at Logan Correctional Center.

We, Ravenswood Covenant Church, have partnered with North Park Theological Seminary by committing to sponsor a student in this program. To help us support an SRA student please send a check to church or give online and in the memo line write: “SRA Sponsorship.”

Scripture for next Sunday
Luke 2:1-14
Psalm 146:5-10
Luke 1:46-55

Art Used in this Bulletin: Steve Erspamer, SM
Clip Art for Year A © 1992, Archdiocese of Chicago.

Our church exists to love and worship God, and love and care for others. By God’s grace, we commit to help people find and follow Jesus Christ through the guidance of His Spirit and His word.

"With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32 NRS)