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The Messiah Messenger > The December 2021 Messenger #642
The December 2021 Messenger #642

Dec 1, 2021

The Messiah December 2021 Messenger

Come, Lord Jesus.

Advent is perhaps my favorite season of the church year, because it calls us to be honest in our life with God.

The honest truth is that the world is broken and hurting, and there are places in our personal lives that are broken and hurting too. The honest truth is that, as individuals and as societies, we can’t solve every problem that we confront. There are broken relationships that we don’t know how to mend. There are loved ones we long to help but don’t know how. There are losses and griefs that burden our hearts.

Christ came into the world at Bethlehem and promised to be with the church to the end of the age. But many parts of God’s world still stand in need of Christ’s healing and transforming presence. Advent invites us to admit these truths and to name our longing for God’s justice, peace, and wisdom to come to us.

A Lutheran pastor in New York, Heidi Neumark, writes that she does not always feel especially joyous at Easter, or repentant in Lent, or filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But every Advent she resonates to the prayers and hymns that long for Christ to come again to set the world right. The words of Advent capture that longing: “Savior of the nations, come.” “Comfort those who sit in darkness, mourning under sorrow’s load.” “O Come, O king of nations, come, refresh the hearts that long for you.”

Our longing for God is itself one of the works of God in us. Our prayers and hymns join us to the Holy Spirit, for it is the Spirit that groans for our redemption and longs for people of the earth to be delivered from sickness, poverty, oppression, and violence. It is the Holy Spirit in us that prays, Come, Lord Jesus.

Pastor David
Indoor Services and Online Church Services Continue With Current Mask Guidelines!

The current guidelines from the Metro Chicago Synod and the Centers for Disease Control continue to call for all people, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, to wear masks indoors, so we are therefore asking everyone to wear masks for worship services and any visit to the church building.

The Executive Committee and Pastor David continue to monitor guidelines and provide updates as they change. As we've learned this past year and a half, it’s important that we remain flexible and adapt to these changes as they are presented. We are doing our part to protect one another, our families, our neighbors, and the wider community. Please contact the church office if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

As a reminder, all of the church services can also be viewed through two different online avenues. All of the services are posted on the Messiah Facebook page as well as our YouTube channel under the name Messiah Park Ridge. The YouTube channel can be found at this web address, https://www.youtube.com/user/holzerp. Services are posted at 10:15 am Sunday mornings, but can be watched at any time. If you need help accessing either viewing platform, please reach out to the church office and we can help. Thanks to Paul Holzer for making sure we can participate virtually in worship for the last 4 years!

Christmas Worship Schedule:
Friday, December 24th at 7:30 p.m.
Candle Light Christmas Eve Service

Saturday, December 25th
No service
Sunday, December 26th at 10:15 a.m.
Lessons & Carols Service

Blue Christmas Service at 7:30 on Tuesday, December 21st
The Christmas holiday season doesn’t always fill us with feelings of joy. It can be a time when we are intensely aware of deaths, divorces, job losses, and other griefs. On the longest night of the year, all are welcome to gather in the sanctuary to pray for strength for today, courage for tomorrow, and peace as we live with the past. We ask these things in the name of Christ who entered the world at Christmas to share our life in sorrow and joy, despair and promise.

Communication With Church & Each Other:

If you are in need of pastoral care, please leave a message on the church phone or send an email to the church at office@messiahparkridge.org or Pastor David at messiahpastor1605@gmail.com. Phone and email messages are checked regularly. Please be sure to check your email often so you don’t miss any updates. If you know someone who doesn’t have email or doesn’t check it regularly, please keep them up to date! If you have information to share with all members, submit it to the church office for the weekly Messiah Message Board! If you are not receiving email communication, please first check your spam or promotions folder in your email. Often email providers automatically move mass emails into those folders and if you are not checking, you may be deleting important information. If you are still not receiving email communication, please reach out to the office to be added to the email list. Or if you don’t have email, contact the office to be put on a call list.

EC Corner:
At their November meeting, the EC discussed status of Mission Profile and Call Process. The Mission Profile has been completed and submitted. Larry Ryczek will serve as chair of the Call Committee. In addition, EC discussed status of various property issues, as well as November and December events and activities.
We thank the EC and Pastor David for their leadership and continuing to guide our future steps.

Ways to Donate
Let's finish the year strong in giving. An active church, like an active family, needs financial support to fulfill its mission.

Turn on AmazonSmile!
If you have the Amazon app on your phone, you can now set it up with AmazonSmile so that your purchases automatically generate donations to Messiah! First, be sure you’ve signed up on AmazonSmile and designate Messiah Lutheran Church Park Ridge as your designated charity. Then, open the Amazon app and find “Settings” in the main menu. Tap on AmazonSmile and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile on your phone! If you do your Christmas shopping online, it’s a great time to be sure you set up Amazon Smile or use Good Shop!!

Contributions to Messiah can be submitted through a variety of means as outlined in previous newsletters. Check out Messiah’s website on ways to contribute: https://www.messiahparkridge.org/contribute.html

Check out Pastor Knutson’s November newsletter where he talks about his attendance at the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA) Council meeting held in Johannesburg at the Lutheran center.

Music Ministry: Light
Have you ever noticed that light plays a huge role in the biblical narrative? And such light has become a regular companion to those of us who delight in the singing of Advent and Christmas hymns.

O Come, O Dayspring, come and cheer; O Sun of justice, now draw near, disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight… (O Come, O Come Emmanuel).

In the 18th century, famed hymn writer, Charles Wesley, penned the following words. They are sung to a stirring melody that many of us love — “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”— written by Felix Mendelsohn:

Hail the heaven born prince of peace! Hail the sun of righteousness! Light and love to all he brings, Ris’n with healing in his wings…

And perhaps, the one hymn written in the 19th century that seems to cross the barriers between faith, doubt, and skepticism is a hymn that is often used to close Christmas Eve worship services in darkened sanctuaries with the entire congregation holding flickering candles:

Silent night, Holy night, Son of God, Love’s pure light radiant beams from your holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace…

Of course, the Light we sing about is a light that emanates from the pages of Scripture. This is most
especially real in the telling of the first Christmas story. The story in part focuses on a “star.” I remember traveling to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago in December with our kids to hear a Christmas program that explained the various theories surrounding the Star of Bethlehem. Many people seek to understand how such a phenomenon could occur. Was it a convergence of planets or supernova that appeared? And why did it appear at this one pivotal time in human history? Or was it a one-time event with no natural explanation, that is, a miracle of God?

This light first shone on poor shepherds whose job it was to take care of sheep “abiding in the fields.” Little did the shepherds realize that the One whom the angels pointed to would someday become the “Good Shepherd” whose voice we would recognize as the One who knows us from the inside out. This light also illumined a stable whose rays shone on one particular child—a child as human as you and I, but certainly not, as we hear the Gospel story unfold, “merely” a child. The light continued to shine on astrologers—ancient scientists called Magi—beckoning them from a part of the ancient world (probably the nations of today’s Iran or Iraq) to ancient Palestine. Their astrological readings pointed to the birth of a King. The Magi were curious and willing to travel hundreds of miles to seek an answer to this astrological riddle. Who is this King? Would he be a king that surpasses all other rulers throughout the ages?

To understand the story of Jesus, to sing it during Advent and Christmas, is to come face to face with Light. Not “ordinary” physical “light,” but a kind of light that streams from God into the deep recesses of our human hearts. O Come, O Come Emmanuel: disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight!

Bill Decker, Music Coordinator

Assistance Ministry
Messiah’s Assistance Ministry outreach has been very active this year. We’ve worked through the Covid 19 challenges of this past year and feel as though we have safely opened our doors to the less fortunate. We continue to offer a nutritious meal and a lunch “to go” as well as clothing and food pantry items each Monday.

This ministry has been blessed by donations from many sources…local restaurants and food stores, local charity, local dry cleaners, local bakery, former members of Messiah, friends of our volunteers, congregation members, scouts, Messiah Child Care Center families and staff, VFW, and Costco by way of a friend. We feel blessed and empowered.

Our guests feel comfortable coming to our Friendship Place and enjoy being able to talk to and pray with Pastor.

When our guests have special requests, we have asked our congregation and many requests have been filled.

Thank you so very much for continuing to support this ministry. We are always looking for more volunteers. Please consider helping by providing food and/or serving. No experience necessary! A smile and good attitude are all that is needed!

As we enter the winter months, please remember that sweatshirts, gloves, hats, boots, scarves and hand warmers are appreciated.
Also – thanks for your donations to this year’s Advent Collection: Stuff A Stocking.

With thanks,
Connie Kaufman
Quilts & Kits

We’re looking for a few people to help assemble Personal Care Kits so please contact Trudi or Carol if you’re able to help. The plan is to work with the Confirmation Class on their service day in January to complete assembly of the School Kits. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to try to complete work on the quilts already pinned. Once we get these completed we’ll take them to a gathering place in Elgin so they can be shipped to an LWR warehouse.

If you want to check out the Quilts & Kits program at Lutheran World Relief, go to https://lwr.org.

Trudi Handzel & Carol Hrodey

Christian Education

The participants of the joint confirmation class participated in a morning of giving back. The students volunteered at Feed My Starving Children in Schaumberg, IL where they packed food for children all over the world. The nine students and four mentors in attendance represent four churches: Messiah Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran in Des Plaines, St. Mark Lutheran in Mount Prospect, and Grace Lutheran in Mount Prospect.

Messiah Lutheran Child Care Center
The children of the Child Care Center will once again share their musical talents with Messiah’s congregation. The worship service on Sunday, December 19, 2021 will include Christmas songs the children have learned. All are welcome to attend the service beginning at 10:15am.

There is one day left to order Manna cards before Christmas!
Orders Due Available for Pick-Up
December 13th       December 14th

For more information on CCC Activities and Programs contact CCC Office at 847-825-3767 or see the website at www.messiahchildcare.com
Messiah Lutheran Child Care Center
Help Wanted!
Do you know a child-loving, hard-working, kind-hearted person who is wondering what to do with their long, winter (and spring) afternoons?? Well, have we got a place for that child-loving, hard-working, kind-hearted person!!! Messiah Child Care Center is looking for an afternoon assistant to join in the fun activities with groups of delightfully entertaining children and staff. The hours would be M-F from 2-5pm. Please contact Messiah’s office at 847.825.3767 or email at messiahchildcarecenter@gmail.com

Advent Collection: Stuff a Stocking!
Help us Fill Christmas Stockings for our Assistance Ministry Guests!

The past year and a half has been an unprecedented time, no doubt. However, most of us have continued to be able to take care of ourselves and our basic needs. Some days taking a shower and getting dressed has been the best way to start and make it through another day. Now, imagine not having the resources to even do that! There are many people these days who don’t have these basic self-care and food items.

So, help us gather some of these items for our Assistance Ministry guests.
We’ll collect items beginning Sunday, November 28th through Sunday, December 12th.
You can place your donated items in the large “gift boxes” found in the narthex
(1 for self-care items and 1 for food items). Thanks for your help!

If you have any questions, contact the church office or Connie Kaufman & Julie Jensen!

Self-Care Items:
(Travel or Sample Size)
Lip Balm
Shaving Cream
Body Lotion

Favorite Food Items:
$5 Jewel Card
$5 Dollar Store Card
Granola Bars
Peanut Butter
(For canned goods, pop-tops preferred)
Canned Tuna
Canned Soup (low sodium best)
Canned Stew or Pasta
Canned Fruit (or fruit cups)

Additional Items:
Warm Gloves
Hand/Toe Warmers
Warm Socks
Warm Hats

Advent began November 28th. It is a season of waiting. It is a season of hope. We look forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and to his coming again in glory. During Advent, as we seek assurance of God’s continued presence in our lives, we are reminded of the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God!”

The four candles of the Advent Wreath represent the four weeks of Advent. The outer candles represent the period of waiting for the birth of Christ. The weekly progression of the lighting of the candles symbolizes our preparation, prayer, reflection and our Hope and Expectation of Jesus’ birth. In the center sits a white candle that represents Christ. As a whole, these candles represent the coming of the Light of Christ into the world.

Each of the four candles has a meaning that we remember as they are lit each Sunday:
1st Week of Advent = HOPE
2nd Week of Advent = PEACE
3rd Week of Advent = JOY
4th Week of Advent = LOVE
Christmas = The CHRIST Candle

Christ is the Light of the World the light that shines in the darkness, the light that can never be overcome by the powers of this world. Christ is the Light of God that has come to us in Jesus.

What are the 12 days of Christmas?

An article by Cory Driver in December 2019 on Living Lutheran website

Christmas, according to the liturgical calendar, isn’t just a day, but a season. Many Christians know the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” or recall that Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is about the last night of Christmas. But what defines the Christmas season?

The 12 days of Christmas are a reversal of the season of Advent. Traditionally, Christians have fasted during Advent as we await the celebration of the birth of our Savior. The period from Christmas Day to the day before Epiphany (the celebration of the magi visiting Jesus, the baptism of Jesus and the beginning of his earthly ministry) is a period of daily feasting. This is surprising, given the reason for celebrating several of the days.

The first day of Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity, is obvious enough as a reason to celebrate. The Messiah has been born into the world! The next day, however, is the feast of St. Stephan, the first Christian martyr, who was killed under the authority of Saul of Tarsus/Paul (Acts 8:1). The emotional whiplash of celebrating the birth of the Savior and then the next day celebrating
12 Days of Christmas (continued)
the life and martyrdom of the first person to die for Christ is stunning. However, tradition calls for a joyful feast to celebrate the faithfulness of Stephen, even unto death.

The next day, the third of the 12, celebrates the life of St. John the Apostle. He was, traditionally, the only disciple who wasn’t martyred. Tradition holds that John took care of Mary, the mother of Jesus, made disciples, grew old and finally died a natural death in Ephesus.

The fourth day of Christmas is the most shocking. The Feast of the Holy Innocents commemorates the death of all boys in Bethlehem, aged 2 and under, at the hands of Herod the Great’s soldiers (Matthew 2:16-18). Again, we feel the emotional rollercoaster, as we’re reminded that the Christian life isn’t simply one of sweetness and joy, but also of pain, hardship and injustice. Nevertheless, the fourth day of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, rather than a fast, because we celebrate the One who has conquered sin and death and doesn’t surrender these precious little ones, or any others, to the grave forever.

The following days celebrate Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket’s resistance to injustice; the holy family; Pope Sylvester, who resisted the Donatist and Arian controversies (in many Germanic-speaking countries, New Year’s Eve is still called “Sylvester”); the circumcision of Jesus; St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory Nazianzen, who defended the doctrine of the Trinity; Jesus’ presentation and naming in the Jerusalem temple; the hermitage of St. Simon on the pillar; and even two American saints: Elizabeth Ann Seton and John Neumann.

These 12 days help Christians remember that the life of faith is full of challenges and hardships but also contains plenty of reasons to celebrate as we remember the heroes and heroines of the church, and most importantly, our Lord and Savior.

December 2021 Activities! Celebration of Life Service
There will be a Celebration of Life service for Harold Baum on Saturday, December 4th at 10:00 a.m. Harold, who is the father of Vikki Hanson, passed away on May 16th, 2020. A service was unable to be held earlier due to Covid. Please join the family as they celebrate Harold’s life.

Men’s Brotherhood Breakfast
Men’s Brotherhood has resumed meeting in person at Jimmy’s Restaurant in Des Plaines located at 1440 Rand Rd. The next breakfast gathering will take place on Saturday, December 11th at 9:00 a.m. All Messiah men are invited to participate. Contact Rich Seggeling or Paul Holzer if you have questions.

Messiah Book Club
The next book club meeting will be Thursday, December 9, 2021 at 7:00- 9:00 pm in the Friendship Place unless otherwise notified!

Next Selection: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Summary: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

All are welcome to attend and if you have questions, please contact Paul Holzer.

Christmas Poinsettias
Keeping with tradition, we will be ordering red poinsettias to decorate the Sanctuary for Christmas. Each plant with a pot cover will cost $15.00. All orders are due to the office by Monday December 6th at 9:00 am and you will be able to take your plant home with you either after Lesson/Carol Service on Sunday, December 26th.

Bulletin Dedication
If you would like to dedicate a weekly bulletin in honor, memory, or in celebration of a loved one please sign up using the dedication chart across from the Assistance Ministry food pantry. If you recall, the EC decided to use silk flowers to decorate the altar from week to week, so we are no longer dedicating flowers.

THIS MONTH IN WORSHIP December 5th – Second Sunday in Advent
Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 1:68-79, Philippians 1:3-11, Luke 3:1-6

December 12th – Third Sunday in Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-20, Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18

December 19th – Fourth Sunday in Advent
Micah 5:2-5a, Luke 1:46b-55, Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-55

Christmas Eve
Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14

Christmas Day
Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Luke 2:15-20

December 26th – First Sunday of Christmas
1 Samuel 2:18-20, 26, Psalm 148, Colossians 3:12-17, Luke 2:41-52

Worship Teams for December

December 5   December 12   December 19   December 24   December 26
Assisting Ministers   Vikki H   Cindy N   Karen B   TBD   Diane B
Readers   TBD   TBD   TBD   TBD   TBD
Projection & Video   Jim H & Paul H   Jim H & Paul H   Jim H & Paul H   Jim H & Paul H   Jim H & Paul H
Altar Guild   TBD   TBD   TBD   TBD   TBD
Counter   Jim H   Jim H   Jim H   Jim H   Jim H

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE We pray for each other, our congregation, our families, our community, our state, our country and the world during this challenging time.

Those who are ill, in recovery, or facing adversity:
The Dumerer Family The Hauser Family Mary Jane Kovach
Trudi & Jim Handzel Richard Levy Carol Hrodey
The Bonilla Family
Maria Raicia (mother of Laura Hauser)
Sonja Snell (family of Bill and Cindy Decker)
Katie Brandon and Carol Rudy (friends of Dotti Burger)
Dominic & Leah Mareuccilli Family, Anne Flick (Friends of the Lippert Family)
Pat & Ted Gradt, Amanda Jensen, John, Karen Heisler, and Sy Rubenstein (friends and family of the Jensen Family)
Ron, Carol, Margot, Maggie, Steve W., Mary, Bruce, and Terry DeSchepper
(friends of David Swanson)
George, Pattie Aaron, Sandi Farley, J.T. & Becky (family & friends of the Handzel Family)
Ed & Toni (friends of Rich Seggeling)
Joshua Harady (friend of Tim Saul)
Brady Nelson (family friend of Alaine Wong)
George and Rosie (siblings of Cookie Bonilla)

Those who are homebound:
Arlene Baranowski Barb Loverme Dorothy Nagel Eva Thoren Dorothy Pollack   

Those serving in the armed services and first responders:
(those known to us & all those who serve)
Brandon Ajyek Tim David Tyler Daye Jarred Engvall Bobby Hanson
Jenni Hanson Mikey Hanson Andreas Johnson Claudine Ward Jason Koesler
Joey Rosequist Brian Nagel Eric Nagel David Nagel Officer Matt McGannon

Those attending college and graduate school:
Thomas Yager Phil Holzer Nick Levy Novena Christal Haley Lippert Dina Salemi Arden Sasak Adam Hauser Ryan Hauser Kevin Kovach Trygve Jensen Nikolas Ryczek Michael Yager Caitlin Levy

Those who celebrate:
Larry Dumerer 12/1, Melissa Holzer 12/4, Rhonda Cady 12/5,
Dorothy Pollack 12/6, Jennifer Hanson 12/10, David Jensen 12/18,
Bobby Hanson 12/19, Neena Penumaka 12/23, Andrew Travis 12/24, Laura Olson 12/27, Marcella Larson 12/28, Elaine Von Schwedler 12/30, and Laura Hauser 12/31

No anniversaries this month.




1605 Vernon Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068
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