Funeral Meditation based on Luke 2:1-7
As Christmas approaches, we are reminded that a very pregnant young woman and her patient fiancé were once left out in the cold. They made their way to the town ofBethlehemhoping and praying that someone would have a place for them to stay… but there was no room.
As Luke tells us:
Joseph went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.
There was no place for them in the guestroom.
Notice… it doesn’t say that they were full. It doesn’t say that there wasn’t room. It says that there was no place for them.
Your mother and grandmother was someone who always had a place in her heart for others. She took great care to make sure that everything was just right for people and that they knew how loved they were.
Wilma was born in 1925 here in Marengo to John and Carrie Ehrman, she graduated from the Marengo High School. She worked in the office of Byron Goldthwaite and also as a Deputy Clergy for the county… but you know best that her true love and her true vocation was to be a homemaker. She greatly enjoyed cooking for her family and you enjoyed eating her fried chicken and other wonderful meals. She made many of her own clothes with her skills as a seamstress… and some for you too, although Jean, you would have preferred to wear the store bought clothes =) She kept an exceptionally clean house and cared about the details. And she did it all for you.
She made a place for each of you in her lives and made sure that you were taken care of and that you were loved. She made a place for you.
Luke reminds us as we approach Christmas that the Lord of Lords crept into this world on a quiet evening and that there was no place for him. There was no place for his unmarried mother. There was no place for the man who would be his earthly father. There was no place.
I hear in that statement that there was no welcome for them.
Who wants to take in a pregnant girl in the middle of the night?
Who wants to deal with these strangers who didn’t have enough sense to plan ahead?
Who wants to give up their spot?
In some Mexican and Latin American communities, the tradition of Las Posadas reminds folks of the absence of hospitality Mary and Joseph recieved. In the days before Christmas, processions go from house to house and request lodging. The host for each evening turns the people away… until the final night, Christmas Eve, when Mary and Joseph are finally allowed to enter and the people gather around the nativity to pray.
So many times in our actions, we too, can tell other people: There is no place for you here.
But I imagine your mother and your grandmother would have loved being the host for the last night of LasPosadas… That she would have opened up her home and said – yes, there is a place for you. I will make room.
The God that your mother and grandmother believed in, crept into this world to make sure that we all had a place. He came as a child to make us children of God. He came and was rejected so that we might never be rejected again. He died so that we might live.
Before he died, Christ reminded his disciples and reminded us:
Don’t be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too.
There is a place for you. That is what Christ tells us. That is what Christ shows us. That is what Christ gives us.
Wilma knew that her job was to make a place for you in this world. May you let her life and her memory live on by carrying in your hearts the desire to serve others… to love others… more than yourself.
Amen. And Amen.