I’m having a subversive Christmas. I’m thinking about the subversiveness of the Christmas story.
Spirituality is by its nature subversive… it sees significance and meaning beyond the material… that something is going on behind the "seen". Awakening (what I usually call mysticism) is even more subversive; it sees the interior (subversive!) way as of primary importance for the individual for experience God. The way of peaceful warriors is more subversive still: for us, it’s a challenge of (subversively!) transforming the world by allowing ourselves to be transformed.
Subversion, subversion, subversion! The arrival of the Teacher was announced to a few. Most simply weren’t interested. The presence of living Teachers today is of interest only to a few: most could care less. Yet the Teaching persists, and it’s so subversive, you can’t even grasp it with your mind. That which you think you know is the first thing that must be subverted for the seed to take root.
Nine months before this subversive birth in a smelly barn away from the eyes of the world, something else subversive happened. A messenger (angelos) privately, (subversively!) told Mary that she would become pregnant when "holy breath" (pneuma hagion) and "the power of the Highest" (dunamis hupistou) overshadowed her. (Lk. 1:26-36)
Mary immediately understood the subversive direction of this future birth:
He has shown the power of his arm,
He has routed the proud of heart.
He has pulled down princes from their thrones
and exalted the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things,
the rich sent empty away… (Lk 1. 51-53)
Just try saying that at a presidential inauguration, and see how long to takes the Secret Service to react! It’s subversive, and it’s not what the powers of this world want to hear, period.
So what will be conceived in you, when holy breath fills you, and your delusions are overshadowed by the Highest power? What or who will you give birth to?