Day 2 Of Advent: Strength For Today And Bright Hope For Tomorrow


“A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall
grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1

One of our greatest signs of Hope is the tiny, tender budding of new blossoms in the spring. I used to love to take cuttings from our cherry tree, set them in water, and watch them blossom at Christmastime. I liked to share them with everyone. They were so beautiful when they opened into white blossoms.

I had a dear friend in our congregation – – Eileen. Eileen was an I Love Lucy kind of person . . . and with a heart of gold.  On Christmas Day she would call and say: “Have you got your turkey in the oven?” “Yes”, I’d say. “Let’s go and make some hospital visits” , she’d say.

I always had a bunch of cherry branches sitting in a vase of water – – three tied together with red yarn. I tend to see a lot of meaning within the ordinary, and I thought this was a significant sign of hope to bring to patients. I’m not sure that others felt the same deep meaning that I felt.

Finally, one day, Eileen kidded me when she came to pick me up: “Well here comes Linda with all of her sticks.”  They were just ordinary sticks, weren’t they? Brown and ordinary sticks. But deep within held the promise of hope for newness of life.


We often expect God to act in bold and impressive ways. But God comes to us most often in the ordinary events and people in our daily lives. Stay alert and you will be able to see God in your child, your spouse, your friends and neighbors, and the stranger in need. You will see God’s Presence in a baby boy asleep in a simple manger bed of hay.

All that God has promised through the seasons of our lives, through the cycles of creation, through the eyes of a child . . .are all signs of hope.
In all things there is Hope, for God is ever faithful.

Dear Jesus,
I pray that I may have eyes to see the signs of your presence in all the world. And when I am not able to see or feel or understand your presence in my life, give me the faith to trust you fully, and to remain in hope. Amen

The Everlasting Light

Scatter the darkness

“Yet in Thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

Advent is a time of hope.
We hope for a better life – for a better world —
one without war and suffering and global warming and ebola viruses.

We long for peace.
We long for joy.
We long for love. Continue reading

A Word Of HOPE

Advent - Intro.

Dearly Beloved,

Yesterday I wrote about the season of Advent and invited you to join me in these days of reflection leading to Christmas.

Tomorrow, Sunday, November 30, we begin a week of HOPE.

I invite you all to share in this intention to focus on HOPE for these first days of Advent ~ November 30 to December 7.

During this time, take note of all that reminds you of HOPE:
words, poems, prayers, stories, images, visions, sacred scriptures that excite and inspire you with a sense of hopefulness.

If you gather together all the things that bring you HOPE and create a little book, you will have this to go back to to remind you in times of difficulty, despair and hopelessness.

You can jot these down on your computer or in a little note pad that you carry with you.


I like to use the method of Key Word Cards while I’m creating my little books.


I simply use paper or note cards (of any size or color you choose), held together by a metal ring or piece of string. This gives flexibility because it allows you to re-organize the thoughts and pictures, or remove any you decide are not necessary. Later, you can transfer these to a more permanent Book of HOPE. (Like little notebooks purchased from a Dollar Store).


Please share your inspirations of HOPE in the comments here so we can encourage, empower, and inspire others.

We grow so much stronger in community ~ ~ ~ in sacred circles of
Love and Peace.

May HOPE be in your heart and mind this day,

Anna Lin (Linda Thomsen)


A creative collection of scripture passages on hope that links you to all other Bible translations.

All That We Celebrate ~ The Season Of Advent

Advent - Intro.

Dear Beautiful Souls ~

As we approach the days leading towards Christmas,
I move into a retreat time for quiet contemplation on
the holy birth of Jesus.

In my faith tradition, we call this season Advent – –
meaning “coming”, for we wait with expectation
the coming of God with us – – Emmanuel.

These days of waiting and expecting are precious moments
and opportunities to nourish our souls with words of hope,
peace, joy, and love.

We use candles to mark each week’s focus on these
gifts for our lives – – – with daily readings for reflection
and prayer.

I invite you to join me in these moments of grace as
we ponder together the mystery of the Holy One
who came among us.

Beginning this Sunday, November 30, I will be posting reflections on my website every day with links also on Facebook. You are welcome to join us.

May the Blessings of our gracious God
shine among us and grant us peace.

~ Anna Lin

Ferguson ~ O Ferguson: You Teach Us We Are So Much More Than We Allow Ourselves To Be

Ferguson ~ O Ferguson: You teach us we are so much more than we allow
ourselves to be.

I am still trying to process all that is happening in Ferguson, Mo.
This situation tears at the depth of my soul and I lament.

I know, I know, I’m taking it personally – – because I know that this young man that was gunned down could have been my son.
This month marks 43 years since we got the call:

“There is a 9 month old boy that needs a home.
Would you be interested in adoption?”

We were poor, very poor seminary students at the time, with a three year old daughter of our own. But our hearts reached out to these children in need.

We hoped to give this one child more opportunities in life.
Hoped that in time the world would be a better place and racism would be overcome with love and peace.<!–more–>

I remember a song I especially loved singing as part of the Civil Rights Movement.

Tell me why you’re crying, my son
I know you’re frightened, like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.

And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, Day is done
Day is done, Day is done

Do you ask why I’m sighing, my son?
You shall inherit what mankind has done.
In a world filled with sorrow and woe
If you ask me why this is so, I really don’t know.

And so, we reached out and took his hand
and he taught us to grow and love and learn in
ways we had never imagined.

We saw first hand the incidents of racism, discrimination,
hatred, abuse, injustice, racial profiling that he experienced
only because his skin was brown and not white.

Only his skin color distinguished him from all the other
children at his all white schools, all white sports teams,
all white places of employment, all white neighborhoods and
communities and family.

And so, this incident in Ferguson – – I take it personally.
I struggle with the fact that even after 43 years there is still
such racism and injustice in our North American societies.
There is still so much denial to face this disease that permeates
our culture. There is still such inequality among people.
It stings at my sense of hope for a greater humanity and seems a set-back
to any signs that progress has been made over the past 43 years.

And so I dig deep, and pray that I can find a way to do more – – to be more loving and kind in a world that still dishonors those who are different than ourselves.

I ask that in each moment we could choose wisely – – to do and be that which is most truly the expression of our loving and gracious God.

May our hearts open to love, honor, and respect each others differences,
and rejoice in the diversity of humanity.

We are so much more than we allow ourselves to be.

10 Ways to Have a Meaningful Thanksgiving by Alison Cebulla

Some great reminders for a blessed Thanksgiving Day

Kindness Blog


While Thanksgiving purports to be a day when family and friends gather to break bread and celebrate the bounty of the harvest and the miracle of life, today, a lot of things get in the way of having a meaningful gathering: technological distractions, the idea of what a family should be as set by movies and TV, the convenience of packaged food, and increasingly polarized political views creating arguments.

We all know that uncle who says bizarre inappropriate things in front of the little ones or that grandma who pinches your cheek and asks you [when you’re getting married, having kids, getting a real job, etc.]. Many of us experience uncomfortable moments of tension either from resurfaced past hurts, or from things on which we don’t see eye-to-eye.

Thomas Moore says in Care of the Soul, “No family is perfect. It has an elaborate history and ancestry and a…

View original post 1,314 more words

A Moment Of Gratitude: Light One Candle Today


“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
To sing praise to your name, O Most High”
~ Psalm 92:1

Have you noticed lately how good it makes you feel to genuinely thank someone for being in your life? It changes the energy between people to acknowledge the relationship and honor what that person means to you.

We all love to hear that we are special and that we make a difference in the world.

It’s the same with our relationship with God ~ the Divine Source of our life.

When we take a moment to offer thanks for all of God’s goodness and tender mercy, the bond between us grows stronger and we are blessed.

There’s a wonderful site at where you can go and light a candle of gratitude to offer thanks for some blessing God has bestowed upon your life.

Take a minute today to light one candle,
to offer a moment of gratitude,
to reflect on all that you have been given from our gracious God.
And then share it with someone close to you.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord;
To sing praise to your name, O Most High.