Tomorrow is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, so this is still seasonally appropriate.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
“Born of the virgin Mary,”
I know that the default image for Christmas is something medieval or Renaissance, a la da Vinci or Titian, but I’m pretty sure that crude roughness is the truth of Mary’s situation. Living in a brutish time, forced to walk/ride to Bethlehem and finding ‘sanctuary’ in a cave used as a cattle pen, with flea-infested straw and home-spun cloth as a “hospital” birthing bed, and a rough-hewn board manger and straw for a bassinet, Mary, Joseph and Jesus did not present a Christmas-card tableau for the Three Magi to happen upon. (Yes, I know that the Bible doesn’t say there were three magi, but I can only deal with so many icons in one one post.)
But the truth of the Creed is not in our idealization of the imagery of Christmas, but with the statement of the Bible about our Savior, and what God accomplished. And with the humble obedience of a young girl, on the cusp of womanhood, who accepted her place in God’s plan of salvation.
There is no way that this can be minimized. We know that Mary had to deal with whisperings behind her back about the legitimacy of Jesus’ birth (after all, at one point, the Pharisees cast His birth back at Jesus “Where is your Father”.) Told by Simeon that her heart would be pierced, she watched her son crucified by Romans.
And, yet, she was faithful to her promise to God throughout her life. “Let it be to me according to your word.” One more testimony of faith in God that we look to when we say the Creed.
We confess that Mary’s obedience is a model for ours. We, too, are servants of God, and say with her, “Let it be to me according to Your will.”