The Advent wreath is one of the most beloved of all Advent devotions, and no Catholic home should be without one.
You can purchase one or make your own for minimal cost and effort.
Sometime before or on the first Sunday of Advent, you should bless the Advent wreath (or have your parish priest do so).
And then, every day during Advent, you should light the Advent wreath and keep it lit while spending some time in prayer (such as the Saint Andrew Christmas Novena) or Advent Scripture readings.
Each time that we light the Advent wreath, we begin with the Sign of the Cross, light the appropriate number of candles for the week (one for the First Week of Advent, two for the Second Week, and so on), and then pray.
Traditionally, the prayers used for the Advent wreath are the collects, or short prayers at the beginning of Mass, for the Sunday of Advent that begins that week.
The text given here is of the collect for the First Sunday of Advent from the Traditional Latin Mass; you could also use the Opening Prayer for the First Sunday of Advent from the current missal (they are essentially the same prayer with different English translations).
Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week of Advent
Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we pray thee and come; that, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
An Explanation of the Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week of Advent.
We begin this first week of Advent by asking Christ to come, to set us free from our sins and from the punishment that we deserve. The trials and tribulations of this world are “brought on” by “our sins”; but we speak here collectively, of the sins of mankind, beginning with the fall of Adam and Eve, and not of particular dangers that are direct punishment for our personal sins. Christ offers us salvation from our personal sins and heals the world of the damage brought on by our collective sins.
Definition of Words Used in the Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week of Advent
Bestir: to stir up, rouse, bring into action
Thy might: the power of God
Approaching dangers: in this case, less physical dangers than spiritual ones that threaten our salvation
Holy Ghost: another name for the Holy Spirit, less commonly used today than in the past