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The Third Advent Candle

GAUDETE – The Third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is called “Gaudete Sunday,” from the Latin word meaning “rejoice”:

Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.

This may be translated as

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.

— Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1

A traditional Advent wreath has three purple candles and one pink one: on Gaudete Sunday, we light the pink one! We pause on our spiritual journey to lift up our eyes and see joy approaching—hence we rejoice (before settling back into penitence for the last haul toward Easter).

And the “candle” for today was chosen as an illustration of hope and the promise of joy, emerging from mourning. Hope you enjoy it!

Copyright 2012 Diana Gabaldon
[Please don’t repost or reproduce this, but you’re more than welcome to link to it if you like.]

[A conversation in the woods between Ian Murray and his (more or less) betrothed, Rachel Hunter.]

He squared his shoulders and gave a great sigh, then met her eyes directly.

“D’ye want to hear about every woman whose bed I’ve shared? Because I’ll tell ye, if so. I’ve never taken a woman unwilling—though they were mostly whores. I’m no poxed, though,” he assured her. “Ye should ken that.”

She considered that for a moment.

“I think I need not know the details,” she said finally. “But should we ever meet a woman thee has bedded, I wish to know it. Thee does not mean to continue fornicating with prostitutes once we are wed, though, does thee?”


“Good,” she said, but rocked back a little on the log, hands linked around her knees, holding his gaze. “I do wish to hear more about thy wife. Emily.”

He could feel the warmth of her leg, her body, close beside him. She hadn’t moved away from him when he’d said about sleeping with whores. The silence grew around them, and a jay called, somewhere in the wood beyond.

“We loved each other,” he said at last, softly, eyes on the ground. “And I wanted her. I—could talk to her. Then, at least.”

Rachel drew breath, but didn’t say anything. He took his courage in his hands and looked up. Her face was carefully expressionless, her eyes intent on his face.

“I dinna ken how to say it,” he said. “It wasna the same way I want you—but I dinna mean to make it sound as though…as though Emily didna matter to me. She did,” he added, very softly, and looked down again.

“And…she does?” Rachel asked quietly, after a long pause. After a longer one, he nodded, swallowing.

“But,” he said, and stopped, looking for the way to go on, because now they were coming to the most perilous part of his confession, the thing that might make Rachel stand up and walk away, dragging his heart behind her through the rocks and brush.

“But?” she said, and her voice was gentle.

“The Mohawk,” he began, and had to stop for a breath. “It’s the woman’s choice, about being married. If a woman should take against her husband for some reason—if he beats her, or he’s a lazy sot, or smells too bad when he farts…” he stole a glance, and saw the corner of her mouth twitch, which heartened him a little. “She puts his things out o’ the longhouse, and he has to go back to live wi’ the unmarried men—or find another woman who’ll have him at her fire. Or leave altogether.”

“And Emily put you out?” She sounded both startled and a little indignant. He gave her a wee smile in return.

“Aye, she did. Not because I beat her, though. Because…of the bairns.”

He felt the tears come to his eyes and clenched his hands in frustration on his knees. Damn, he’d sworn to himself that he wouldn’t weep. Either she’d think he made a show of his grief to win her sympathy…or she’d see too deep; he wasn’t ready…but he had to tell her, he’d started this on purpose to tell her, she had to know…

“I couldna give her children,” he blurted. “The first—we had a wee daughter, born too early, who died. I called her Iseabail.” He wiped the back of his hand viciously under his nose, swallowing his pain. “After that, she—Emily—she got wi’ child again. And again. And when she lost the third…her heart toward me died with it.”

Rachel made a small sound, but he didn’t look at her. Couldn’t. Just sat hunched on the log like a toadstool, shoulders drawn up around his ears and eyes blurred with the tears he couldn’t shed.

A small warm hand settled on his.

“And your heart?” she asked. “Yours died, too?”

He closed his hand on hers and nodded. And then just breathed for a bit, holding onto her hand, until he could speak again without his voice breaking.

“The Mohawk think that the man’s spirit fights wi’ the woman’s, when they…lie together. And she willna get with child, unless his spirit can conquer hers.”

“Oh, I see,” Rachel said softly. “So she blamed you.”

He shrugged.

“I canna say she was wrong.” He turned a little on the log, to look at her directly. “And I canna say that it would be different—with us. But I did ask Auntie Claire, and she told me about things in the blood…well, perhaps ye should ask her to explain it, I wouldna make a decent job of it. But the end of it was that she thought it might be different wi’ another woman. That I maybe could. Give ye bairns, I mean.”

He only realized that Rachel had been holding her breath when she let it out, a sigh that brushed his cheek.

“Do ye—“ he began, but she had risen a little, into him, and she kissed him softly on the mouth, then held his head against her breast and took the end of her kerchief and wiped his eyes and then her own.

“Oh, Ian,” she whispered. “I do love thee.”

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174 Responses »

  1. Oh dear thank you Diana, but I have to stop reading, crying, laughing and general passion for your great writing, as I am only starting ‘An Echo in the Bone’. Dang, love Ian and this was so heart warming, thank you again

  2. Diana you are an amazing writer, I started the series on #4, it was a gift and I just kept going rather than going back.. (which I shall eventually do). I am gald that there will be a bit of a break before the next book as I do not recall staying up all night (many nights) reading books in years:-) I do appreciate all the research you put into your books, you are an amazing woman, what determination, what a mind! I so appreciate the excerpt.. I am excited for the new book. Happy New Year

  3. Thank you! I love this series and have just named my first “wee one” Ian.

  4. Hello, Diana: I’ve really enjoyed reading the entire series of Outlander, etc., and look forward very much to the next novel. The exerpts are great teasers; although I must say that what has gone before will guarantee that I will be purchasing the next book at any rate. Your website is most enjoyable, and the interraction between yourself and the readers must be very gratifying.
    I have been playing with the idea of writing for a good many years, and, like my passion of painting, have for some reason been keeping it all on the back burner. Now, being exposed to your terrific talent, thorough research and engaging writing style, perhaps it would be anti-climactic to attempt my own writing style. Can’t imagine enjoying writing my own stuff, as much as I enjoy reading yours.
    At this point in time, the current feeling is that as I am now quite a bit older, perhaps the viewpoints might be more well rounded, and inclusive of others.
    At any rate, please keep writing, and I’m sure we’ll all keep reading.
    God Bless, and have a great 2013!

  5. My heart is eased to read this tender passage between Ian and Rachel. Thank you, Diana. I’ll be waiting with eager anticipation for the for the whole story. Please don’t ever stop telling stories!

  6. Hello Diana,

    I am getting really excited to get the next book in the Outlander series, as it was what really got me into reading again.
    I hope that the book is in Canada soon, as I am excited about the next book as I have been for all the rest of the Outlander series. You are a great Author. I only wished that I could get your autograph, but I have not been able to go any of your signing place when you are there, as I live to far way to get to any of the places that you have been.

    You are a very good writer, the information that you put into your books is excellent. My husband has even tried to read some of your work as well.

    Thank you for your books as they keep me going everyday.
    Your most devoted fan.

  7. I too have reread your Outlander series to hold me until your next book is published. It was great to refresh myself with all the characters and to help remember where everyone is, since traveling geographically and through time goes on.

    This interaction between Ian and Rachel is so lovely. Thanks for sharing it, and please ask your publisher to hurry.

  8. This brought tears to my eyes, I cannot wait for this book!

  9. I’ve loved this series since it first came out. I work in a bookstore and cannot begin to count the number of coworkers and customers I’ve gotten hooked. Recently, when I learned the next book is getting closer, I was talking about it w/a coworker and was so excited I got a customer walking by excited, she started the series right then! Can’t wait!

  10. This scene between Ian and Rachel was beautiful. Having bought the book of short stories and letting my daughter borrow it as soon as they arrived, will now have to borrow them back to get my DG fix before I re-read the series in preparation for next book. You are a fantastic writer Diana, your imagination has me enthralled.

  11. OMG! I can’t wait to read what happens next in the 8th book. I absolutely love the Outlander series. I was especially interested your inclusion of medical and nursing situations. I am a RN so I love reading Clair’s perspective about treating the people. Also what passed for treatment is interesting. Thank you so much for writing.

  12. Us Elaine’s must think alike. I also cannot wait until the Autumn (not Fall, as I am from Devon, England) and will read again ‘An Echo in the Bone’ or maybe the whole series.

    I don’t know whether the excerpts make the waiting easier or not. They certainly whet the appetite.

    Thank you for such lovely books – pure escapism.

  13. My step-daughter recommended I read this Outlander series — Once I picked up the first book, I haunted the book-store for the next book ! The detail , the surprises, the involvement this reader has w/ each character is amazing.!! Sometimes you DO things to your characters that makes me sad, angry, wondering WHY this happened this way ?! but the story goes on and is fleshed out, fulfilled, and it all comes together ! YOU are a brilliant writer. I am like all your other readers , waiting for ,anticipating w/ bated breath the next book – MOBY – in fact I’ve put my name in at our local bookstore to be #1 on their waiting list for this last book ! I wish I had started reading this series BEFORE we took our dream trip to Ireland and Scotland ! But the trip was beautiful and we have wonderful memories.
    Thank you again for this GIFT in this series — these are books I do NOT give away.!! Have a wonderful upcoming February 2013 with GOOD HEALTH and GOOD LUCK.
    Sincerely, Patti Z. from Michigan

  14. Thank you Diana,

    Patiently waiting! I’ll just have to re-read the whole series again….Don’t mind at all, I always find a little surprise that I missed from reading the books to fast before.

    Your the best! God bless.

  15. sorry!


  16. I can hardly wait to read your new book. I have just finished reading your whole series of the Outlander books. I wanted everything fresh in my mind for when I get to read it.
    The whole series are keepers. I will be reading them all again someday.

  17. I just finished An Echo in the bone this morning! Oh I can’t wait to find out what happens next!!!

  18. I have had such a hard time finishing An Echo in the Bone because it’s getting close to ending… and I cannot bear it that it will end someday! I want your books to go on and on… I will miss Claire & Jamie and all the other characters when it’s over.

  19. Thank you. Your books are my favorite dozen books ever, Lord John series included, although with the comments/reply under Best Before …2013, your blog, and at the top of this excerpt, I shall revisit the wonderful idea of a nightly reading from the bible and maybe you won’t feel badly if it jumps up somewhere into the top ten.

    I’ve been avoiding reading any excerpts — sometimes one resists the sweet tease to savor the thought of it for the future. I am going through some troubles, Mom is finally going to pass over the next week or so, from Leukemia. Financial troubles forcing the sale of our home. Legal troubles with the Ex causing additional troubles with the current marriage, which should be a good, long solid everlasting marriage. One kid with academic problems reaching a crescendo. Enough stuff which, if well written, could be integrated into a decent novella, I suppose, but unfortunately, in the living of it is just tedious, trying, and more.

    So, I finally thought I would stop by your website and look up an excerpt. I read this one with Ian and Rachel. I could not cry for myself, but reading about Ian and Emily and feeling his pain, I finally had a good long cry. It is too early to say if I feel better and thank you, Diana. You help a lot of people with your writing in ways that you will never know. Peace, Bobbylev.

  20. I sooo love these books. I live in Spain and cannot bear the wait from the despatch until the arrival here. Prolonged agony waiting for the next installment, but always well worth the wait.


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