The word comes from the Latin "adventus," which means "arrival," referring to the coming of the Messiah. While the season clearly deals with the anticipation of Jesus' birth, celebrated on Christmas, it also has certain connotations to the Second Coming, when the Messiah bring salvation and judgment.
Some spend the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a time for fasting, or at the very least a season of penitence. Church services during this season usually include purple vestments and tabernacle colors.
The Advent wreath is part of the long-standing Catholic tradition. However, the actual origins are uncertain. There is evidence of pre-Christian Germanic peoples using wreathes with lit candles during the cold and dark December days as a sign of hope in the future warm and extended-sunlight days of Spring. In Scandinavia during Winter, lighted candles were placed around a wheel, and prayers were offered to the god of light to turn “the wheel of the earth” back toward the sun to lengthen the days and restore warmth. The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. A tradition is that each week represents one thousand years, to sum to the 4,000 years from Adam and Eve until the Birth of the Savior.
You can buy a very nice Advent wreath or make it yourself. This time some different ideas, lets think out of the box and use things we have already at home.