December 24, 2023

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



from John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6
Leader: The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.
People: We have beheld His glory. Alleluia!
Leader: A Child has been born for us,
People: A Son given to us;
Leader: Authority rests upon His shoulder, and He is named:
People: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Most gracious God, we greet this day with shouts of Noel! For now is born among us the Bringer of Peace, whose name brings cause for joyful celebration and gives the nations the sure knowledge of redeeming love. Enter now our celebration. Smile and sing with us and through us the hymns and carols of our jubilation. Override our inhibitions and self-conscious restraint, that our songs and prayers may resound without reserve, to the glory of Jesus, our infant Savior. Amen. 

The first noel, the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the east beyond them far;
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came from country far;
To seek for a king was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

This star drew nigh to the northwest,
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest;
And there it did both stop and stay,
Right over the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

Then entered in those wise men three,
Full re’vrently upon the knee;
And offered there, in His presence,
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
For Christ has our salvation wrought
And with His blood our life has bought
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel.

Covenant Hymnal, #167

Dami and Devencie Ervin and their children

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON: Dami and Devencie Ervin
Psalm 146:5-10

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
 who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    He upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
     your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to all,
From heav’n’s most gracious King!”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
With peaceful wings unfurl’d,
And still their heav’nly music floats
O’er all the weary world;
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hov’ring wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.

All you, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo, the days are hastening on,
By prophets long foretold,
When with the ever circling years
Comes round the age of gold;
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Covenant Hymnal, #153

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for He has looked with favor on the lowly state of His servant.
    Surely from now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
    and holy is His name;
50 indeed, His mercy is for those who fear Him
    from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones
    and lifted up the lowly;
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has come to the aid of His child Israel,
    in remembrance of His mercy,
55 according to the promise He made to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and to His descendants forever.”

Reader: The Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

Children 6 and under are dismissed to Children’s Church in the upstairs lounge. Parents can pick up their children in the lounge after the service.

Pastor Peter Sjoblom

All hail to thee, O blessèd morn!
To tidings long by prophets borne
Hast thou fulfillment given.
O sacred and immortal day,
When unto earth, in glorious ray,
Descends the grace of heaven!
Singing, ringing, sounds are blending,
Praises sending unto heaven
For the Savior to us given.

‘Tis God’s own Image and withal,
The Son of Man, that mortals all
May find in Him a Brother;
He comes, with peace and love to bide
On earth, the erring race to guide,
And help, as could no other;
Rather gather closer, fonder,
Sheep that wander, feed and fold them,
Than let evil powers hold them.

Like all of us, He tears will shed,
Our sorrows share, and be our aid,
Through His eternal power;
The Lord’s good will unto us show,
And mingle in our cup of woe
The drops of mercy’s shower;
Dying, buying through His passion
Our salvation and to mortals
Opening the heavenly portals.

He comes, for our redemption sent,
And by His glory heav’n is rent
To close upon us never;
Our blessèd Shepherd He would be,
Whom we may follow faithfully
And be with Him forever;
Higher, higher glory winging,
Praises singing to the Father
And His Son, our Lord and Brother.

Covenant Hymnal, #180

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
James Tang, serving in South Sudan & Ethiopia; Barb & Steve Swanson, serving in Sweden

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.

giving opportunities:
Zelle® to:

“Some Children See Him”
led by Jim and Cynthia

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.

Good Christians all, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice!
Listen now to what we say. News! News!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow,
And He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!

Good Christians all, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Hear the news of endless bliss. Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door
And we are blessed for evermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!

Good Christians all, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Now you need not fear the grave. Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall!
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!

Covenant Hymnal, #173

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

Von Himmel Hoch
attr. Martin Luther
led by Cynthia
please remain seated during the postlude

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

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.

Thank you
Pastor Ryan is ill, so thank you to Pastor Mark Westlind and Pastor Peter Sjoblom for leading us in worship today on short notice!

Christmas Carol Jeopardy!
Please join us down in the fellowship hall today after the service for our annual rousing game of Christmas Carol Jeopardy! Hosted and created by Jim Anderson, this is a fun way to continue the holiday spirit as we gear up on Christmas Eve for the big event! Naturally, coffee and treats will be served as usual.

Christmas Eve Service of Lessons & Carols
Please return this evening at 7:00 pm for our annual service of Lessons & Carols, as we once more welcome the Christ Child into our world and into our hearts by candlelight with song and Scripture.

Laughing in Faith Forum
End your year with a big laugh! Come to Nelson Lounge at 10:00 am Sunday, December 31 … the last day of 2023. Laughing is good for us, so come to share your favorite jokes, laugh, and enjoy some coffee and refreshments!

Camp Booster Fund
Interested in sending your children to overnight camp at Covenant Harbor or Covenant Point next summer? We have a camp booster fund that will give $200 towards the fee of any Ravenswood Covenant child (or that child’s friend) who wishes to attend one of our two Central Conference summer camps. We feel that every child from our congregation who wants to attend camp should have the opportunity to go!

Sunday School and Faith Forum
Sunday School and Faith Forum meets at 10:00 am every week, unless otherwise noted. Sunday School’s annual three-week holiday hiatus begins today; Faith Forum did not meet today, but will return next week. Come join us as we gather together to learn and grow in faith every Sunday morning.        

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
Mark 1:13-20
Mark 1:1-12
Psalm 91:9-12

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)