Every year the run-up to Christmas starts early, with Christmas displays right after Halloween and Carols and parties and celebration beginning right after Thanksgiving.

Because Christmas is our favorite holiday.

But Easter is the most important Christian holiday. And so the run-up to Easter is more solemn, more subdued. More serious.

It is called the Season of Lent. Its name comes from the old English word lencten, which means springtime. It lasts for 40 days, not counting Sundays.

Lent recalls that Jesus had to use all his strength to remain faithful when he was tempted for forty days in the wilderness. We understand once again that we sometimes fall prey to temptation, that we indeed need God, who in his grace, loves us, forgives us, welcomes us despite our sin.

Lent is a time for us to try to be more like Jesus in our living. A solemn run-up to Easter indeed. But why are Sundays not included in counting the 40 days of Lent?

That’s because of the good news that arises in the midst of sin, death, despair, and disappointment. And the good news is that Jesus rose from death to life. He is alive and every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection… leading to the big celebration of Easter, this year March 27.

If you are looking for a church to call home, I want you to know that we would be honored to welcome you at North Raleigh United Methodist Church, to share with us in the contemplation of Lent and the celebration of Easter.

Here at North Raleigh you will find folks who disagree on many things, from politics to favorite sports teams to what kind car to drive. Yet we are united in this:

Here we all know ourselves to be people who sin, who do not always get it right, yet people so grateful for the forgiving love of Jesus we want to share it with others.

So here at North Raleigh we are united in wanting to welcome you, encourage you, and offer our friendship and acceptance to one and all.

–Eric Lindblade