My youngest son asked me last week if it is Easter yet. Of course I said no, but then I asked him why he wanted to know. His answer was predictable: he wanted to know when he could start looking for his Easter basket. He is confident that he is getting something like roller skates from the Easter bunny, but don't ask me where he got that idea. To put it simply, my son wanted to know when this season of Lent will be over.

I think many of us are asking this same question yet in a different way. As adults, we may be asking: Why do I feel so alone? Why do I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle all by myself? In the Lutheran tradition, which I am a part of, and for many other Christian traditions, Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter during which we simply reflect on our need for Christ in our lives and what life would be like without Him.

So I wonder how many of us find ourselves or know others who are stuck in a "season of Lent." How many of us feel like we can't see God in our midst because we might be in over our heads

in bills or our health or a loved one's health continues to fail? How many of us feel like we are stuck in a "season of Lent" because our kids are struggling in school or our spouse is struggling

with alcoholism?

Lent can be a dark time. It is a time where we reflect on our struggles and our need for God in our lives, but Lent is no place for us to stay. We were not created to be "Lenten people," people who can't see or experience God's presence in our lives. Instead we were created to be "Easter people" who know that even when we find ourselves in the "season of Lent" Jesus frees us through His death on a cross to live fully in His grace.

In John 8:36 Jesus says to the Jews gathered around Him, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." You see though we find ourselves at times experiencing "seasons of Lent" in our lives we are not called to stay there. We have been freed by the Son of God so that we can live as His "Easter people." As Easter people we know the hope we have in Christ, that He is with us and will never leave us even in the dark times of our life.

As Easter people we may at times feel like "Lenten people" and that the hope of Easter and the

presence of Christ is nowhere in sight. Yet, as "Easter people" we don't depend upon our feelings, but trust in that which we know: Christ is with us now; the cross and tomb are empty.

Whom do you know that hasn't yet heard this freeing news? I challenge you to invite them to come and be part of an Easter service at one of the many churches here in our community. Help them come to know that the Son has set them free so that they can live in the promise of Easter.