Breath of Heaven
Part two of a series on Christmas songs
‘…I no longer live, but Christ lives in me…’
(Galatians 2:20 NIVUK)
The song Breath of Heaven1 tells the story of the Nativity from Mary’s perspective, portraying her as a frightened young girl, attempting to deal with the circumstances of giving birth to the Son of God. In her vulnerability, and despite her human doubts, Mary’s faith in the goodness and mercy of God remains, and helps her deal with this unique situation. Some of the words placed on Mary’s lips are:
I have travelled many moonless nights
Cold and weary with a babe inside
And I wonder what I’ve done
Holy father you have come
And chosen me now to carry your son
I am waiting in a silent prayer
I am frightened by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now…
Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan
Help me be strong…
Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Understandably Mary found it hard to believe that she was carrying the Son of God. No one was more surprised by this miracle than she was (Luke 1:34). And Mary could do nothing to assist God in the process except to offer no resistance: God did everything (v.38). In the words of the song, she offered ‘all I am’ and trusted in the ‘Breath of Heaven’ to hold her together.
Incredibly, like Mary, Christians are indwelt by Christ. Unfortunately, unlike Mary, we often think we can assist God by helping him in the process of salvation, or we resist the work he wants to do in our lives. Yet when we try to assist or we resist, we miss God’s grace working in our lives. We forget that it is no longer I, but Christ in me.
To be pregnant with the Son of God is a miracle, and to have Christ living inside of us is also a miracle – a miracle that may sound daunting. Like Mary we can all have the insecurity of feeling that the task we’ve been given in life is something we’re not equipped for, and that maybe a wiser one should take our place. If so, follow Mary’s example and offer all that you are to God; he will hold you together.
Mary was highly favoured to carry the Son of God and was told by the angel ‘The Lord is with you’ (v.28). We too are highly favoured to have Jesus living in us. So don’t be afraid of the journey ahead, we have found favour (grace) with God (cf. v.30) and he will be forever with us, as he works out his plan for our lives.
Loving Father, thank you for your grace and favour in sending your Son Jesus to us. May we surrender all to you, as he lives in and through us. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
1 Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song), Chris Eaton and Amy Grant, 1992.
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Pastor for Southern England.
Grace Communion International central London
Mahatma Gandhi Hall
41 Fitzroy Square
Local congregational contact:
Word of Life contact: