Mary lives in a time of extreme poverty. She lives in a country ruled by brutal tyrants who do not value life; a world where your friends either starve or hang on a cross. She lives in a world where the poor are neglected and the only people who have good news are the rich and powerful. She lives in a world where the dark is getting darker.
But then this heavenly messenger comes to her and tells her that in her womb will be formed, the real Son of God, from her womb will be born, the true giver of peace, the
real Savior is coming. And this hope, this subversive begins to form in her heart, that there is something better to live than the good news of Rome.
The word subversive means the attempt to overthrow or cause the destruction of an established government. Do you understand that this is the language of the resistance. Christmas is the start of a revolution. When a host of angels announced the Jesus is the bringer of peace, they are saying there is no peace in Rome. When you are told to told to name the boy Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins, you are saying that Augustus is not the savior of the world. When you say that birth of Jesus is the good news, you are saying that the birth of Augustus is not the good news.
Christmas was the start of a movement that would overthrow Rome AND ultimately ALL the Kingdoms of this world — yes even the American Kingdom. When we sing the songs of Christmas, we sing the songs of the revolution. When we tell the stories of Christmas we use the language of the revolution. But we can sing the songs and tell the stories without joining the revolution.
And what does it look like to join the revolution? Where does it start? It starts with the very first words of the very first Christmas song, a song sung by Mary. The words are, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” You can read the whole song in Luke 1:46-56. But for the moment just let those words settle in your heart. What would it look like, this Christmas for you to magnify the Lord? To diminish everything else that you magnify in your life, and let Christ be huge. That would be a Mary Christmas.