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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. Beautiful.

    Thank you Diana.

    • Thanks, Ian and Rachel deserve to find happiness together. Thanks for the excerpts from your book . It makes the waiting easier.

    • I have been waiting anxiously for such a long time!! I consider the Outlander series my favourite books ever, right up there with The Thorn Birds.

      • Me too! along with my other “nonalogy” favorites by robin hobb! I eagerly await the next book in the wonderfully down-to-earth Claire and her surgical practice of the “dark” ages! love and thanks, m.

    • I can’t Waite ! Love the little bits we get!

    • Eeeeeek…….I’m going to go crazy waiting till the fall. Time to reread An Echo in the Bone……….again.

      • I’ve just finished An Echo in the Bone for the 2nd time, having already read the entire series multiple times waiting for that one! Now I’m ready for the 8th book and just dying for it to be published…PLEASE PLEASE hurry – this suspense is killing me!!

    • Hello!

      Just wanted to join in the praise. I am reading the series over (again) in prep for #8 in the fall. Cant wait. Diana, I wondered if you picture Jenny Murray as looking very much like you b/c I do! Random thought. :-) Thanks for these wonderful novels. My mother and I are always in awe of your knowledge of words and languages.

      Happily in the middle of Drums of Autumn yet again,

      A fan

      • I’m glad I’m not the only who pictures Jenny as Diana as well! Diana, I’ve read the books at least 4 times, and will continue to read it over and over again. I always find something new! Thank you!

      • Too funny… I’ve had that exact thought! I see it too. And when I’m reading or listening to the books (by the way, these books are wonderful to listen to as well) I picture Diana as Jenny.

      • I realize I’m writing this reply quite a bit later however… I do not see Jenny Murray looking like Diana. It’s funny how we all get different pictures in our head about someone we are reading about. I see her as someone with a sort of thin heart shaped face with a dimple in her chin and large luminous dark blue eyes and a mouth that looks ready to smile. However I have never been able to picture the faces of Ian or his father (Ian) or Jamie. And yet I can see Brian’s face at about the time when Jamie was whipped in prison.

      • alright, i’m young but these are my favorite books of all time, don’t judge me but i’ve read the series at least 27 times, i own the series which makes me happy :) but i’m soooo anxious to read the new book!!

    • I’ve enjoyed the excerpts, but I’m ready for the book! My books are falling apart because I’ve read them so many times! (I think 8 times) This series has made me want to visit the land of my ancestors!

    • I love the books. I have read Every part 4 times. So I am à real fan. I can not wait To read part 8.

    • I just finished the last book, and am going through severe withdrawal. I miss the characters so much. I listen to them on audio, and Davina Porter is enchanting. She has brought the story to life, and I feel like I really know these people. I can’t wait for the new book to be released. Missing Jamie

      • I too am on my 4th round of listening to to books. Davina Porter really brings it to life. Can’t wait until the next one comes out!

      • I also have read all the available Outlander books. The characters have become like dear friends to me. I will start reading my favorite parts over again. I cried through Brianna’s trip with Ian through the wilderness so he could vent his sorrow over the loss of Emily. Can I wait for December to get my copy of the next book? Only time will tell.

    • Someone said it makes the wait easier! It just makes me want more, but I like it! My Mother (95) and I love, love, love the Outlander Books! I just finished reading them a second time ( in preparation for the eighth) & the novelette ” A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” (Roger’s parents). I intend on having the eighth book as a 96th Birthday gift for my Mom! Can hardly wait! Diana Galbaldon rocks!

    • Hurry quickly. I can not wait

    • Your books are so wonderful. When I read them, I feel like I am right there standing in the background watching them interact with one another. I am taken right into the middle of the time period, experiencing all energy and life you breath into them. It’s an amazing place to go! Thank you for bringing these characters to life, so that many of us can sneak off and enjoy.

    • I have read all your books and have now started listening to them through audible. Can’t wait for this one to come out. Watching for more excerpts like the one above. It was wonderful.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • I was really hoping the book would be out by Christmas 2013. Which is what I was told. I cannot wait to revisit my old friends, all the characters in your books. Many thanks. Susan

    • Think I am wishing my life away roll on 2014 can’t wait. I feel like they are my family. Have read the whole series of books 4 times.

  2. I have loved this gift of reading these excerpts! Thank you! (but I am also feeling a little tortured waiting for the book to come out- Ha!) Can’t wait!! Your Outlander series has been my absolute favorite reads ever!

  3. I have just finished re-reading the entire series and can’t wait for number 8 to be published. This sneak preview is more than enough to wet the appetite. Can’t wait.

  4. What a gift, again… I wish every Sunday of the year would be an advent Sunday. Thank you Diana.

  5. Gaudete indeed! I think Christmas has come early this year for me!

    Thanks so much for the excerpt.

  6. Diana, you write so beautifully and you can feel the emotion in one’s own heart. How perfect for today. Thank you.

  7. Ian makes me cry. He’s so sweet. I try to avoid these excerpts because it makes me want MOBY horribly. I love your stories, though.

  8. Hi Diana,

    “dragging his heart behind her through the rocks and brush”

    Oh……This gave me such a visual picture I had to stop reading and collect myself.

    I absolutely love the way you write abut these two.

    This excerpt is a perfect example of rejoicing


  9. Thnak you, Diana, for the post and photos.

    You are my favorite writer and I read each line I am more thrilled and in love with your characters. Jamie, Clair and Ian are like members of my family, every book I rediscover the joy of the family!

    Merry Christmas and can not wait for the new book!

    All the happiness in the world for you and your family and thanks for all the gifts which your talent has given us in each book!

    PS: sorry for my english, I’m brazilian.

  10. What a gorgeous photograph!

  11. Thank you so much! Outside of Jamie and Claire, Ian is my absolute favorite character. He has had so much heartache, I hope in MOBY he will find joy. But the essential conflict that you created here is that Rachel is a Quaker.. and Ian is a bloody man. And Willie likes her too! We’ll find out in MOBY.

  12. I wanted to let you know that I just recently began to read the series..I am still on the first book. I wanted to thank you for providing me with an escape. With all the sadness and difficult times going on in our country it is nice to know that I can escape to the world of Claire and Jamie! Sometimes we all need the opportunity to just get away from all of the negativity in the world…thank you for providing me with that escape!

  13. You unwind these layers, so carefully, so lovingly. We are all pulled along as each character is revealed. I too await the next book with eagerness.

  14. Oh come on, already! I don’t think I can wait almost a year for more of this!

  15. Diana,
    Thank you for this sweet passage!
    Gotta love Ian!

    Christmas blessings to you and yours.

  16. Dear God, I DO love these people. Please hurry as best you can.

  17. Beautiful! Ian has always been one of my favorites. He’s so sweet and good. I’m glad to see that things are going well for him (at least for now) and I like the pairing of him with Rachel. I’m so looking forward to the new book. Please don’t ever stop writing! Merry Christmas, Diana.

  18. Wow… this is amazing… I cannot wait until its on the shelves in Australia to buy… I’ll be waiting with anticipation for its arrival…

  19. Cannot wait for this next installment – I absolutely love the detail in all the books comprising this series – the characters are so vivid, so real – Ive recommended to so many people


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