Advent means purple and purple means advent, yes? Well, as Evelyn Waugh once noted, “Up to a point Lord Copper”. For some people blue is the Advent colour – and very nice it can be too – and purple is the colour of Lent. Personally I link purple and lavender in my mind – the lavender fields of Norfolk and Provence. I think of 2 things – that lavender can be very theraputic (a little lavender oil in a bath is wonderfully de-stressing and the link that lavender has had for me with relationships.
Norfolk for me is about trips to Walsingham, deepening my relationship with God through celebrating God’s incarnational relationship with us through the Blessed Virgin Mary. And the part of the Pilgrimage that always made most impact on me was the liturgy of healing – oil, water, the laying on of hands and reconciling penitence. Provence is honeymoon territory. Healing both comes from relationships and bears fruit in deeper relationships, be they human or spiritual. And the link between healing and lavender bore down on me strongly when visiting St Remy-en-Provence and the hospital where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year as a psychiatric patient. There is a wonderful lavender garden there which he painted. Lavender and healing again, linked through the medium of art and the use of creativity. It’s still a working hospital as well as a museum and you can buy the patient’s art from their therapy sessions in the gift shop. (I was tempted by the one of the psychiatrist wearing a jester’s cap and bells).
Advent is about healing too. The healing of the nations. Swords into ploughshares.
Above all, healing of the great divide between fallen humanity and our Creator through the joyful mystery of the Son of God becoming fully human and dwelling among us.
Advent purple is healing purple.