If all I can do is complain about bad songs, what are the best Christmas songs? While I like the secular ones, I’m partial to sacred. One of my favorites is “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” recorded by Amy Grant in 1992. English songwriter, Chris Eaton, wrote the song and recorded it in 1995. Grant was pregnant when she recorded the song and asked Eaton for permission to modify the lyrics to fit her personal experience.
Amy Grant’s first Christmas album, A Christmas Album was released in 1983. “Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song)” appears on Grant’s second holiday album (and her 13th album overall), Home For Christmas in 1992. The album reached #2 on Billboard 200 and #1 on the Christian album chart. For me, the 80’s included big hair, college, my first years teaching, marriage and two babies, so the songs on these albums have been the sound track of those life events.
Amy Grant has earned six Grammy Awards and 25 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. She wrote a book, Breath of Heaven, published in 2001. (Add this to my reading list.) The song is also on the soundtrack of the movie, The Nativity Story, released in 2006.
Christmas Eve is filled with traditions, that, once established, become the “way it has to be” for my family—and, I’m sure, for yours. I sing with the folk choir at the 7:00 mass in Silver Spring. My whole family is involved in one way or another, so the music we share is all the more magical in the time and place–“Breath of Heaven” is part of that magic as it is one of the “before mass” selections that I enjoy singing. It sets the tone for the sacred experience to come.