Use these simple home decor printables to focus your prayers and intentions during the Advent season.
Each candle on the Advent wreath helps us recall a particular virtue or grace of the Holy Spirit. While it’s hard to remember their order, it’s even more difficult to keep in mind the true meaning of the theme each week brings. With these four, simple, printable banners, you can add to your Advent and Christmas home decor, and answer your family’s questions about their significance.
What is the order and color of the Advent candles?
Week 1: Hope (purple)
Week 2: Peace (purple)
Week 3: Joy (Gaudete Sunday)
Week 4: Love (purple)
You start with the middle purple candle and go around the circle counterclockwise to imitate the Liturgical calendar. Going the opposite direction of our norm is also a good reminder to be counter-cultural, and that God is the perfection of time. Purple is used during seasons of preparation in the Church, whereas Rose often denotes expectant joy.
What do the Advent candles mean?
While we might think of “hope” as “being positive,” the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) gives us a far better idea of how to live out hope during the first week of Advent. It states:
“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.”-CCC 1817
So, first, hope is a gift from the Giver of all Gifts, God the Father. Second, it doesn’t assume that things will work out how we want them to, but how God intends so that we might all share in the Parousia – when God will be all in all.
For a wall decor reminder of this gift, print the free banner. (We’ve summarized the definition for brevity and copyright purposes.) For a longer reflection on Hope, read our Light One Candle for Hope blog post.
We light the second candle for peace. Often, “peace” brings to mind the end of wars and a quiet household. But, the CCC gives us a far deeper insight. It reads:
“Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is “the tranquility of order.”-CCC 2304
Obviously, very few wars would fall under the category of a “just war” per Catholic Social Justice teaching, so an end to wars would be included in our efforts to seek peace. But, the goal is much greater than that. Peace comes when we seek God’s order for the world, not our own.
Joy, probably the favorite theme, isn’t another word for happiness and cheer. Yes, we should definitely spread both, but there’s more to it than that. Think about the response of Elizabeth at the Visitation:
“For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.”Luke 1:44
Joy is what comes from offering or being in communion with true charity. It isn’t a feeling, but a validation of our selfless efforts to love human kind. When we lack joy, it’s often because we are seeking happiness for ourselves instead of looking for ways to be charitable to others. You can print your wall decor banner to keep it in mind during the third week of Advent.
During the fourth week of Advent, we encounter the most misunderstood virtue – love. Most importantly, love is not a feeling. It is a Theological Virtue – one of the big three from which all others are derived – and it, too, is a gift from God. The CCC has much to say about it, including:
Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.-CCC 1829
For our banner, we focused on the fact that love is synonymous with charity, and it involves following Christ by offering our whole selves as a gift to others.
What do I do with the banners?
In our house, I cut away a triangle shape at the bottom to give them a little character, strung them on a ribbon, and hung them below our Advent calendar (naturally with our free printable Advent tags). It’s over our kitchen table where we have plenty of time to sit and think about them. Really, you could hang them anywhere, or make prayer cards out of them for your prayer table, or even frame them. Don’t forget to grab our Advent Wreath prayer, too!