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In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is a holiday that is among the nation’s finest national traditions.

For Christian stewards, Thanksgiving Day has special meaning, for we know that gratitude lies at the very heart of stewardship. A grateful heart heralds the beginning of discipleship and opens the way to our deepest response, the desire to return to God for the bounty of our lives. For what do we thank our Creator? It’s natural to thank God when things seem to turn out the way we had hoped, when disaster is averted, when life seems filled with abundance.

Harder, perhaps, is the ability to thank God for being present to us in times of struggle, failure, illness and death. But, in the heart of the Christian steward, the memory of God’s presence is a comfort and a gift all its own. What came to us in the form of hardship has in hindsight revealed itself as gift. Therefore each day’s struggles and trials should be met with a heartfelt “thank you.”

The first and most spontaneous response of the heart which has discovered God, is “thank you.” Gratitude lies at the beginning of true prayer. As we reflect on this time of thanksgiving, let us be present to those moments when God’s gifts were hidden in shadow and remember to be thankful for all.