Thanksgiving – Prelude to Christmas

November 28, 2013

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, Painting in Cathedral of St. Augustine, First Thanksgiving

State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,
Painting in Cathedral of St. Augustine, First Thanksgiving


Taylor Marshall has an interesting article on the first Thanksgivings – that’s right, it’s plural – in what is now the United States of America, but back then was termed the “New World” in European eyes. You’ll want to read Six Interesting Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know. Even before I read his article I was meditating on the relationship this national holiday has with Christ’s birth. If Christ had not become man and died for our sins, we still would have much to be thankful for, but we would not have the greatest of all things to celebrate, our redemption.

It was Christ who gave us the great Thanksgiving at the Last Supper, and it is the Church that He founded upon Peter that continues to re-present to the Father that great Thanksgiving first celebrated before Christ’s agony, arrest, illegal trial, passion, death and resurrection. So it was, then, that the first Thanksgiving on the soil of the New World occurred on September 8, 1565 when the Timucuan Indians and the Spanish settlers held a great feast and celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in St. Augustine, Florida in thanksgiving for God’s blessings upon them.

We are days away from the beginning of Advent when the Church anticipates with eagerness the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, “…Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel” (Is.7:14). While we are walking with the Chosen People in darkness toward the Light by way of our sacred liturgy, we know in these days that Emmanuel, “God with Us” has already come and redeemed the world. He remains with us wherever two are three are gathered in His name (Matt. 18:20), and in every tabernacle all over this earth. The thankfulness we have on Thanksgiving Day for the fullness of the harvest is the same thankfulness we have for the Father sending His Son in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4) to bring us the fullness of grace and eternal life in Him (Ps. 84). It is all thankfulness for the goodness and mercy of God upon this afflicted human race. If we look at Thanksgiving in any other way we do not know who we are – children of God and all of what that means.

In this world’s feast we share our food with others, an earthly analogy to the Mass where Jesus shares the heavenly food of His Body and Blood with all present. The one comes but once a year, the other, every hour of every day. If we carry this spirit of gratitude with us all the way through Advent we arrive at the night when we commemorate Christ’s birth with great joy and feasting, when we give gifts to others out of love for our Savior, and when we bring Him gifts, too.

The spirit of true gratitude engenders in us the desire to give from our hearts, not as a duty but as a privilege to love. What then are we thankful for, and what shall we present to the Baby in the manger on Christmas? How will we wrap our gifts to the Christ Child? We have all of Advent to prepare.

A few things I am grateful for and what I will give to Jesus on Christmas as presents to Him:

  • Life and the chance for eternal joy. I will wrap my self-will in little, purposeful acts of self denial throughout Advent, for without surrendering my will to God my life is in vain.
  • My still-functioning brain and body. I will wrap them in acts of kindness to others and more attentive participation in the sacred liturgy.
  • My imperfect self with all my sins. I will wrap them in His Precious Blood to fulfill the desire of His Sacred Heart to work in me.

How will you carry your spirit of thankfulness from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day? What will you give to the Baby Jesus that night?

Want to subscribe to posts by email? Visit the third box in the sidebar.

V. Praised be Jesus Christ!

R. Now and forever!

(Click on the link above to read why I end my posts this way.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Thursday, November 28th, 2013 Catholic Church, liturgy, spirituality


This site is dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, and Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. May they accompany me and all readers on our journey to God.

Email notification of posts

For Writers and Advertisers: Copy Editing and Proof-reading by Barb

Community of Catholic Bloggers

  • Community of Catholic Bloggers


I am grateful for even small donations to help keep this site going. All donors will be kept in my prayers.

Catholic Bloggers Network

Catholic Bloggers Network

Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network

  • Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network


Blog Disclosure Policy