A Christmas tradition that always kicks off the Swoboda Advent season is the transformation of our mantle with our nativity display. Our first Christmas after we were married, I asked for the start of a nativity set that we could add on to in consecutive years. That first year Pat gave me the Crèche and Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Pat and my parents continued to gift me pieces of the nativity and now that complete scene is set up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Each piece is carefully unwrapped, its significance named, and placed on the mantel.
As I sit on my couch every evening, it is a constant reminder that this should be our focus and reason for anticipation during the Advent season. It constantly reminds me to slow down and to remember the greatest gift of all.