An angel and a girl have conversation. She’s going to get pregnant without having sex. And no one is going to believe the story. Her fiance won’t. The community won’t. She’ll flee ridicule, spending several months with a relative. The relative was herself pregnant, long after menopause, shortly after her husband talked to an angel. The young girl, the old lady, linked by the babies they carried. Like clients of a controversial fertility specialist, they find comfort from critics in shared community. Mary returns home, is quietly married to Joseph, has a baby in Bethlehem, and her first visitors are social outcast shepherds invited to a stable by angels.
It’s interesting that the once the Apostles Creed settles down, the Holy Spirit has disappeared from the process of conception. In the creed we’re considering, however, Jesus is “born of the Holy Ghost and the virgin Mary.”
Though neither Matthew nor Luke can describe the process in clinical detail, both quote angel statements that the process involves the Holy Spirit and overshadowing. Because the Holy Spirit is involved, according to Luke’s report, the child will be called the Son of God.
This is an odd story. Angels everywhere, the Holy Spirit doing what only the Enquirer can explain, and scandal at every turn.
It’s possible, of course, that Joseph and Mary lied. It wouldn’t be the only time a couple has covered up details of conception. And it is easier, perhaps, to believe that Jesus was Joseph’s son, that there was no divinity, that any of us can be a Jesus. But when Jesus talked to his Father, Joseph wasn’t near. Especially not by the cross.
This statement from the creed, based on the accounts of Matthew and Luke has people spending a couple millenia affirming the scandalous. And the miraculous.