Behind the Song: Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven {Mary’s Song} is another contemporary Christmas song, that has become a much loved favorite.

The song is written from Mary’s view point.  The song starts with why she may have been chosen.

The song was written by Chris Eaton.

Chris Eaton

Eaton was friends with Amy Grant and a member of her touring band.   She was preparing to go into the studio when their tour ended for a Christmas record.

Grant said, she saw the song’s chorus, “as being universal, but also it could be so specific in light of Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

When Amy Grant heard the song, she said that she immediately identified with the song. However, she wanted to rewrite the verses to personalize them.  At the time she was expecting her third child.

Grant said in an interview, “That song is so profound, but the chorus is so simple. It’s authentic and perfectly written, because it uses an incredibly moving economy of words. And, selfishly, I just really wanted to be able to use the song on my Christmas record. So finally Chris said, ‘Well, OK, just for this one version, we’ll let you put a different lyric on there.’ I said, ‘Well, you couldn’t possibly have written the lyric I’m thinking of, because I’m going to write it from a woman’s perspective.’ I was very pregnant at the time, and I felt that was part of the inspiration as I tried to imagine Mary’s experience.”

Amy Grant

Grant rewrote the verses and Eaton revamped the chorus.

Amy Grant performed the song on her Christmas album Home for Christmas in 1992.

In her 2001 book Breath of Heaven, “It is a prayer that fits a lot of circumstances because it is a cry of mercy.” She goes on to state that the song helps her reflect on how to connect with her audience and pray for the masses.

Breath of Heaven was used in the soundtrack for the 2006 movie The Nativity Story.  The screenwriter stated he used the song each day for inspiration while he was writing the film’s screenplay.

The song has become a contemporary Christmas Classic and been recorded by numerous artists.


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