Denise Day Spencer

December 20, 2009

The Advent within

Filed under: Devotional Life,Home Front — denisedayspencer @ 6:17 pm

Advent is a time of waiting. Boy, don’t I know it.

As other people light Advent candles and wrap Christmas gifts, Michael and I are waiting. First we waited to see if our family doctor agreed that Michael was having a gallbladder attack. Then we waited for the results of a CT scan because something on the ultrasound looked a wee bit suspicious. Next we waited to see an oncologist because the CT showed things that were downright scary. Now we wait for Tuesday, when Michael will have a biopsy. Then more waiting until the physician can tell us what kind of cancer this is and how we will fight it. And so it goes…and will go for some time.

It should come as no surprise that it hasn’t seemed a lot like Advent this year. I got our Advent wreath out of the shed Thanksgiving weekend and it’s right here on our kitchen table — still unlit on this fourth Sunday of the season. The Christmas tree? I didn’t even bother to drag it into the house. I’m not vying for the sympathy vote; I’m just stating facts.

Yesterday the pastoral associate at my church called to see how we were doing. When I mentioned the frustration of all the waiting, she replied, “You’re really having an advent within Advent, aren’t you?” “I hadn’t thought of it like that,” I said, “but that pretty much sums it up.”

An advent within Advent. I like that.

The first Advent wasn’t exactly a joy ride for anybody, was it? Zechariah was stuck dumb by a hot-tempered arcangel. Joseph was sure his betrothed had been unfaithful. Mary was almost “put away quietly” in a divorce. Not to mention a nine-months-pregnant girl on a tiring trek to Bethlehem — then giving birth in a stable without mother or midwife to help.

Perhaps our woes don’t need to be a total distraction from the meaning of the season, but a way to enter more deeply into it. Israel was waiting for a Messiah because they so desperately needed one. Things haven’t changed much, have they?

“His name will be called Emmanuel, which means God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23) Michael and I need a God who is with us these days. We need to be reminded that He is ever near and always loving. That He is undoubtedly in control — no matter how things turn out. My prayer tonight is that this advent within Advent may pull us closer to Christ’s sacred heart and hold us there.

And there we will wait.



  1. Amen. Good word.

    Comment by Lisa Rhone — December 20, 2009 @ 9:22 pm | Reply

  2. I am a regular reader of your husband’s blog and sent him a note the other day that you are all in my prayers. My husband was diagnosed with throat cancer two years ago so I think I know a bit about what you are going through. Know that you are loved, cared for and prayed for by many in the cyber community that you will never know or meet. My thoughts are with you as you wait.

    Comment by Diane — December 21, 2009 @ 4:10 pm | Reply

  3. God bless you, Denise. Many of us are praying for you and Michael.

    Comment by Ted — December 21, 2009 @ 10:21 pm | Reply

  4. Indeed we are praying and know that you are loved, as Diane wrote.

    Comment by Bill Kinnon — December 22, 2009 @ 7:15 pm | Reply

  5. Connie and I are praying for Michael, you and the family. Please let me know if there is anything we can do to help.

    Comment by Mike Birch — December 22, 2009 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

  6. This is a very hard thing for you all, especially at this time of the year. The one good thing is that the doctors are finally getting something done, which can only help. Knowing, no matter how hard, is better than waiting and wondering what? how bad?

    Praying for you all and tell himself I lit a candle for him the other day!

    Comment by Martha — December 22, 2009 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

  7. I love this, Denise. Thank you so much.

    Comment by mysisterskitchen — December 22, 2009 @ 9:14 pm | Reply

  8. Praying for you both.

    Comment by seaton garrett — December 22, 2009 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  9. Your family is much loved by many people you don’t even know. Peace and blessings to you all.

    Comment by brianw — December 22, 2009 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  10. Much love and prayer to all the Spencer family. May your advent within Advent also follow with glad tidings of great joy.

    Comment by Jason Blair — December 23, 2009 @ 6:39 am | Reply

  11. Prayers offered. May you and Michael experience Christ’s peace.

    Comment by Jenny Bluett — December 23, 2009 @ 9:08 am | Reply

  12. Am praying.

    Comment by The Scylding — December 23, 2009 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  13. Please know – and let Michael know – that my family and I are praying for you both this Christmas.

    Comment by Jim Nicholson — December 23, 2009 @ 6:09 pm | Reply

  14. […] you haven’t read Denise’s post on “advent within Advent” please do […]

    Pingback by Thank you for your prayers | — December 24, 2009 @ 5:45 am | Reply

  15. I am so sorry, Denise, that you and Michael are going through this difficult time. I hope the doctors can soon have all the facts of what they are treating and how best to treat it. And I hope Michael responds wonderfully to that treatment. You both are in my prayers daily. I wish you strength, peace, health.

    Comment by JoanieD — December 24, 2009 @ 6:21 am | Reply

  16. Prayers for you both and your children. Faith grows when tested. Rest in His arms.

    Comment by Riley Allen — December 24, 2009 @ 7:22 am | Reply

  17. I am praying for both of you. May God bless you.

    Comment by John — December 24, 2009 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  18. I am so sorry that you and Michael and your family are going through this. Peace, courage, and health to you all.

    Comment by That Other Jean — December 24, 2009 @ 10:43 am | Reply

  19. Thank you for sharing this, Denise. I’m praying for you and Michael and your family, so grateful that you know that you’re leaning into Prince of Peace during this troubled time. Grace and peace.

    Comment by Dave B. — December 24, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Reply

  20. “O God of heavenly powers, by the might of your command
    you drive away from our bodies all sickness and all infirmity:
    Be present in your goodness with your servant Michael, that his weakness may be banished and his strength restored; and that,his health being renewed, he may bless your holy Name;through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

    Comment by expat — December 24, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

  21. Thanks so much for this post Denise. As one of many who’ve followed Michael’s journey through cyberspace,know that you, Michael and the rest of your family are in our thoughts and prayers this Christmas. Peace…

    Comment by Jim S — December 24, 2009 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  22. Thanks for taking the time to write this post, I know it must be difficult at a time like this.

    You and Michael and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Comment by Warwick Rendell — December 24, 2009 @ 2:42 pm | Reply

  23. Denise,
    Michael and you have been in my prayers since I discovered Internetmonk almost 2 years ago when Michael was struggling with your move to Rome. It saddens me greatly that Michael is sick and you are both having to endure this trial. Just know that I am praying for you both.

    God Bless


    Comment by GNW_Paul — December 24, 2009 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  24. I appreciate this post very much, Denise, and my whole family is praying for you and for Michael at this difficult time. We do not understand so many things in life, and certainly not a struggle like this, but we can offer it up… “In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion… As for me, I will patiently abide alway: and will praise thee more and more. O Saviour of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us, Save us, and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord. Amen.”

    Comment by Timothy S — December 24, 2009 @ 3:28 pm | Reply

  25. God bless you, guys.

    Comment by Alan — December 24, 2009 @ 4:52 pm | Reply

  26. Thank you for the update, Denise. I am praying for both of you and for your family. May God bless you with a deep sense of His presence and love at this time.

    Comment by Christopher Lake — December 24, 2009 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

  27. may you feel God’s peace and love. ya’ll are in my thoughts and prayers, and what a great thought as we all wait,, thanks God bless

    Comment by wayne — December 25, 2009 @ 7:23 am | Reply

  28. Praying for you…

    Comment by Wolf Paul — December 25, 2009 @ 11:27 am | Reply

  29. Prayers for you now.

    Comment by Joe — December 25, 2009 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  30. It sounds like we are just a few weeks a head of you guys. I was diagnosed with a sarcoma (tumor) in my abdomen about 6 weeks ago (day before Thanksgiving). I’ve gone through one cycle of chemo (my next one starts 12-29); my chemo will eventuate in surgery (hopefully end of Feb.), and hopefully that will be it (Lord willing). I say all this to let you know I (we, my wife) that I can totally sympathize with where you guys are at (the waiting is the worst part, IMO, but God’s grace is there). I will be praying for Michael, that the LORD will just simply touch His body (heal it) — the LORD has been encouraging me with Jn 11:4 (maybe that could be a source of encouragement for you guys too right now). I’m praying daily for you and Michael, may you experience the God of all comfort in ways that you never have before (II Cor 1). Please pray for me (us) too . . . appreciate that!

    In Christ

    Comment by Bobby Grow — December 25, 2009 @ 10:46 pm | Reply

    • Thanks to all who have commented. It gladdens me to know how much loved Michael is by so many — including many who have never even met him.

      Bobby, thanks in particular for what you shared. Yes, I’ll pray for you and yours. I know this journey is not easy, and we’re only beginning…

      Comment by Denise Spencer — December 26, 2009 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

  31. (((((hugs)))) to you all as you go through this journey.

    Comment by molleth — December 26, 2009 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  32. Michael and your entire family are in my prayers.

    Comment by ToddV — December 26, 2009 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  33. Thank you so much for your update on Mike. We pass each tibbit around the county most of whom are in daily (or more) prayer for Mike. We will continue to do so.
    We really miss him.
    Love you all.

    Comment by Mary Lou — December 28, 2009 @ 11:55 am | Reply

  34. Denise, I just learned about Mike’s cancer and am saddened beyond words. He, and all your family, are in my prayers. Jackie and I talked last night about how much we enjoyed working with you at FBC Somerset and being with you when Noel was born. Those were good years that have given us a lot of precious memories. Let me know if you need anything.
    Bob Browning

    Comment by Bob Browning — January 7, 2010 @ 11:33 am | Reply

  35. Thank you for everything. Very useful

    Comment by โหลดเพลง — January 19, 2010 @ 5:06 am | Reply

  36. The best information but i like

    Comment by โหลดเพลงmp3ฟรี — March 7, 2010 @ 12:44 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: