Breath of Heaven


Mary’s Prayer (Breath of Heaven)

I have traveled 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, be with me now

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

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, help me be, help me

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven

This is one of my favorite more modern sung prayers / hymns. The words do not do justice to the tone and inflection of the song–the sung version of a spoken prayer.
The melodic up, downs, starts, stops, trailing off. . .
It is an emotional prayer—
I cannot begin to imagine the humility and wonderment that must have flooded a young Mary as she is foretold of her now tremendous responsibly– so very overwhelming!
Pregnancy alone is a great responsibility, but for it to have taken place in such a miraculous, hidden and holy fashion is, for even many individuals today, most difficult to comprehend.

To say that Mary must have been scared is most likely putting it mildly.
We know Mary was young, most likely around 15 years old, an age when most modern day kids are just getting a learner’s license.
To be a parent at such a young age is most difficult, as I have had many a student who has borne such a burden—
But to do so alone, with no one but a young husband, in the middle of a strange town, with no shelter, no help, no mid wife, no money— all the while knowing that this child is more than merely your first child with a man whom you just recently married–but this child is much, much more–it is simply overwhelming—especially for me and my limited understanding.

I can only imagine the thoughts that constantly played out in Mary’s head during her wait of 9 months. The constant wondering of “why me —I am but a simple jewish girl” . . .over and over.
And yet I also imagine a supernatural peace must have engulfed her—as it must have for Joseph as well—that is until it was time to give birth.

I imagine Mary, uncomfortable and in great pain yet by this time, having now plainly accepted her role and relinquishing herself to a greater plan than her own earthly comprehension, is prepared to do what she has been waiting so long to do. Joseph is now the one more afraid and feeling most helpless. My heart breaks for this young couple at this single moment in time as it plays out millennium after millennium.

Our modern eyes look at the artistic images of a placid little family in a tidy little stable which adorn our holiday trimmings—but I bet it was far from the artistic version which we are so familiar with today in our countless nativity scenes and Christmas cards. This was a birth plain and simple and a birth is never a nice, neat, tidy event. To say Joseph was scared to death would be no illusion.

When hearing these words today, imagined as they are, recalling what could have been the thoughts of a young jewish girl, I am humbled by the sheer magnitude of the situation. I don’t think many of us stop long enough to truly comprehend the resounding implications of such a harrowing circumstance as we busy ourselves with our holiday festivities, but had it not been for this long ago and far away dramatic event, our festivities of today would simply not exist.

May you, during these waning days of Advent, stop long enough during the frantic frenzied days of shopping, working, and of making merry to find a glimpse of the marvelous mystery which is truly a part of this single prayer which must, to some degree, reflect the hopes and fears of a young girl many many years ago.

8 comments on “Breath of Heaven

  1. ptero9 says:

    One of my favorite Christmas songs!
    Yes, to imagine Mary, a young girl being in such an odd position, and yet finding the willingness to trust in God.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Wow, Cookie, this is outstanding! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights into what it must have been like for Mary. I’ve singing bits and pieces of this song for weeks. It’s one of my most favorites. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  3. PS. I love the photo too!

  4. good evening Julie, I love this song, brings back memories as do many of your post. Nice picture of the trees and snow! Did you take that this year?

    Have you got your Christmas menu planned yet? I have been working on mine and making my grocery list.

    • Hi Michael, glad you enjoyed the post–I took the picture a couple of years back during our last really good snow. I just did our son’s and his bride to be’s birthday supper last night—I think we’re going to do a Christmas Brunch…how ’bout you?

      • Hi Julie,
        We are doing Christmas on Christmas eve at my mom and dad’s place for lunch and late afternoon head to my wife’s mom and dad that evening. Then mass before going home. On Christmas day, my children, their spouse and the grandchildren will be at our house for Christmas brunch. Then on Saturday afternoon I am grilling whole beef tenderloins on the grill and all the kids, spouses and grandchildren are coming back over. Publix has them on sale for $3.99/lb.

        I am starting my baking on Monday afternoon, gotta make a coconut cake, carrot cake, 2-cheesecakes, chocolate chip cookies, cream cheese brownies, lima beans and broccoli salad. I hope to get all the done Monday, then I have a few other things I will cook on Tuesday morning. All of this will go with us to our parents houses. I got a lot to do.

        So, what do you do for brunch?

  5. Geralyn says:

    Beautiful song, beautiful post. Julie, if I don’t catch you beforehand – here’s wishing you a blessed and happy holy Christmas.

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