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.
Although it was written for Amy Grant’s 1992 Christmas album, I did not come into contact with this song until nearly two decades later when the church I was serving sang it as a choral arrangement for Christmas. It was at that time that I learned it was one of my late husband’s favorite Christmas songs.
It is a remarkably poignant reflection from the perspective of Christ’s mother Mary, trying to be strong and able to do all that is needed for her child, but barely able to hold herself together.
The funny thing is that as the years have progressed, I find myself more and more relating to this song no so much even from the shared perspective as a mother, but simply as a fellow human. A child of God. Someone who’s world is turning upside down. And how oftentimes I can barely take the next step forward.
It is as though the second verse can hear my pleading heart: help me be strong. help me be. help me.
I was commenting to someone this morning that today was seeming to be a good day. And for the most part it was.
But for a few moments this afternoon and evening it trying to careen back into the shadows of the overwhelming swells of grief, stress, and anxiety. Oddly enough, it was this song that brought me back. Breath of heaven, hold me together, be forever near me…
I guess my best advice tonight, on this Christmas Eve Eve, is to remember this song and hold onto it tight, not only during Christmas, but also throughout the year. It is a holy prayer for all of us who need to be reminded of God’s holy presence that is always already in our midst. To be reminded of our need to breathe. To be reminded that help is only a breath away.