I’ve said it before: I am not religious. If you have been reading me even casually for any length of time, you know this about me. I don’t judge folks who are, it just isn’t my thing. But. (You knew there was a ‘but’ coming, right?)
But every so often a religious song comes along that’s so unspeakably beautiful, I need it, even if the sentiment that inspired it isn’t one I share. This is such a song.
Last year around this time, I posted a playlist, “Songs for a December Morning.” I stand by that playlist, and the whole playlist is linked on YouTube below, but first I want to call your attention to my all-time favorite Christmas song. It’s the first track in the list, and it’s amazing.
It tells the story of the nativity from Mary’s perspective, as a terrified teenager. I guess maybe that’s why I find it so moving. “Breath of Heaven” was originally written by Chris Eaton, then re-written from a woman’s perspective and subsequently re-recorded by Amy Grant. Grant’s version is the best-known one, but there’s something so pure and innocent and bare about Sara Groves’ version, I vastly prefer hers to any other.
In case you are interested, I did find an amateur version I thought was really wonderful and worthy of mention, as well. Here’s the Oak Avenue School Orchestra (from Greenfield, CA) featuring their English teacher, Ms. Lee.