The Advent wreath is a popular Advent custom that originated in Germany. It consists of four candles, surrounded by evergreen branches. The light of the candles signifies the light of Christ, Who will come into the world at Christmas.
On the first Sunday in Advent, or the night before, the Advent wreath is blessed. (If you cannot bless it on either of those days, the wreath can be blessed whenever possible.) Then, each night, a prayer is said, and the appropriate number of candles is lit—one candle during the first week; two during the second; etc.
The steps below describe how to bless the Advent wreath.
Make the Sign of the Cross
Pray the Responsory
The father of the family (or other leader) recites the verse, and the family (or group) responds. If you are alone, recite both the verse and the response.
V. Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R. Who made Heaven and earth.
Optional: Read Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6
The father (or other leader) reads this passage from the Prophet Isaiah, familiar to many from Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, which reminds us that Christ is our light, and that His Birth brought us out of the darkness of sin and saved us.
Pray the Prayer of Blessing
The father (or other leader) prays the following prayer over the Advent wreath, and the family (or group) replies "Amen."
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sprinkle the Advent Wreath With Holy Water
The father (or other leader) sprinkles the Advent wreath with holy water.
Optional: Pray the Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week and Light the First Candle
While the blessing ceremony can take place at any time, if you are ready to light the first candle, the father (or other leader) leads the family (or group) in the Advent Wreath Prayer for the First Week of Advent and lights the first candle. (For detailed instructions, see How to Light the Advent Wreath.)
End With the Sign of the Cross
What You Need
- An Advent wreath
- Holy water