by Cimela Kidonakis
This Advent, I accepted an invite to a very unique baby shower. The experience helped me contemplate the meaning of Christmas in an entirely new and unexpected way, so I wanted to share my thoughts here with you.
I was a little confused when I first heard that my sister and her friends organized a baby shower for a women named Mary. Many of us racked our brains before reading through the details of the evite… Mary who?
Do you know which Mary they were talking about? Yes, it was Mary the soon-to-be-mother of Jesus!
It all started because Susie, one of our friends, had seen an Instagram post on Be A Heart with the idea. Erica, a Catholic artist and Instagrammer, had been contemplating the Blessed Mother’s pregnancy because she is also an expectant mother due around Christmas.
Erica had been fortunate to have multiple baby showers and thought of those who aren’t as fortunate. It was simple. Throw a baby shower for the Mother of Jesus and donate the baby gifts to help women in need.
With a little research, Susie, Rebecca and Melissa (the hosts of the baby shower) found a wonderful charity in Houston, helping expectant moms even before a Planned Parenthood clinic was built across the street from their building. They are called LifeHouse Houston and their website had a list of recommended items for donating.
We brought Our Virgin de Guadalupe image, in which the Blessed Mother is pregnant. Everyone brought gifts for the baby, just like any other baby shower.
One of my friends said she was out with a co-worker when she was picking up the baby gift. Her co-worker asked if the baby shower was for a boy or girl…. “A boy!” she said!
Then she explained the event was for Mary and all the gifts would be donated to charity. Her co-worker loved the idea; her co-worker happens to be a devout Muslim who also loves Mary.
It was a wonderful event, just like any baby shower… except everyone could drink a glass of wine because none of us were actually pregnant.
Something my sister heard while she was on pilgrimage in Medjugorje is that Our Blessed Mother is the first monstrance. She carried Jesus in her womb.
Next month, our team will be at the Our Lady of La Leche shrine in St. Augustine, Florida. It’s amazing to think that we are following along the Christmas season contemplating Jesus being born and in one month Our Blessed Mother would in fact be nursing Baby Jesus just like in the image of Our Lady of La Leche.
Sometimes we plan these things. Sometimes, however, we don’t and a beautiful light turns on!
I hope you find ways to give Baby Jesus presents this Christmas Season! There’s a beautiful quote I recently came across over an image of the Three Wise Men that said “Wise men still follow Jesus.” So, I put it on a new shirt design! I love the story of the Three Wise Men too. And thinking of ways we can also give and celebrate Jesus this season.
Blessings to all!
-Cimela and the Stella Mar team
*PS: We’d love for you to join us in St. Augustine next month! There’s still room at the Inn… I mean, the spiritual retreat house run by the Sisters of St. Joseph in downtown St. Augustine, and they’re wonderful! Learn more.