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Third Week of Advent

A Nativity Visio Divina Devotion

The third week of Advent is all about the joy of knowing the birth of the Savior is very near. Take a moment to pause and thoughtfully engage with three artworks by John August Swanson that are currently on display in the Nativities and the Natural World Christmas exhibit. You will have the opportunity to look deeply at the art while progressing through six steps: listening, gazing, reflection, prayer, contemplation and action. 

Ways to Reflect

  1. Focus on the artwork embedded below and listen to the provided audio as the Marian Library's visual resources librarian, Bridget Retzloff, guides you through the meditation. You will want to pause the audio during moments of reflection.
  2. Download a printable pdf of the written meditation along with a reproduction of the artwork. 

You are welcome and encouraged to share both options with family, friends and groups you may be involved in.   


Three vertical artworks side by side each depicting a scene in the Nativity. The left is of visitors to the Holy Family coming in droves over hills. The second is of the angels giving the good news to shepherds in the fields. The third is the traveling Magi. All three are very colorful and detailed with patterns and starry skies.

Play and pause audio


Featured in this reflection are details of three prints from the collection of the Marian Library.

John August Swanson
USA, 1988

John August Swanson Studio
USA, 2023
Giclée print

John August Swanson
USA, 1988


Marian Library

300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1390