Welcome to the Christmas Carol series! As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, each post this month features the title of a familiar Christmas carol. I’m praying each post provides you with a Christ-centered focus for the season and of course, plenty of hope for the heart and joy to the soul.
The second featured title is “Breath of Heaven.”
Our nation held its breath last week as the community of San Bernardino, CA was attacked by gun violence. Prayers are offered. Tears are shed. But the gasp of “not again” led me to select this week’s featured carol.
As we consider the Breath of Heaven, some may wonder why a blast from God’s nostrils didn’t stop the events in San Bernardino last week.1 Others rest in the fact that the wind of His grace was evident in the suspects being found. Our title this week invites us to consider something more.
The songwriter, Amy Grant, provides us with a bevy of possible emotions experienced by Mary, the mother of Jesus. The lyrics serve as a statement of the privilege and pressure of accepting God’s call. Here are the words of the chorus:
“Breath of Heaven, hold me together. Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven.
Breath of Heaven, light in the darkness, pour over me Your holiness for Your glory.”
However, Scripture reveals many ways the breath of God is experienced in human affairs.
As He breathed into the first man Adam, Adam became a living soul.2
His breath gives life.
As Jesus took his last breath on the cross, the debt for our sins was paid.3
His breath offers forgiveness and new life.
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit breathed and spoke through each person in the Upper Room. As a result, those outside the room heard the wonderful works of God in their own language. 4
His breath gives us power to live the life He intends.
When we hear heart breaking headlines or encounter difficulty in our own lives, inhaling stressful details brings heaviness to the soul. And yet, the lyrics in Grant’s song point to the presence of God as the place to exhale the weight of our circumstances.
It is where we can take the unexplained and submit it to His Sovereignty. Mary must have cherished this truth as she pondered the Immaculate Conception and the Savior of the World growing inside her womb.
But what is growing inside of you and me? Do we sense the forgiveness, power and life He offers? Or do we feel He is distant and we are left to our own devices? Immanuel means God with us. 5 It is the name given to Christ and it is a reminder given to us that He is light in the darkest nights of our soul.
Many questions may arise as I seek to follow His Path, but the answer is always the same – trust Him. It is a trust that deepens over time. It is confidence that grows each time I choose His faithfulness over my fear, frustration and pain. It is by no means easy, but to receive the divine resuscitation it is essential.
If life leaves you feeling like you can hardly catch your breath, here’s some good news: As the baby Jesus filled His lungs with air, the Breath of Heaven offered us the Bread of Life.6 As we feed on a relationship with Christ, we are renewed by the power of His Resurrection.
Only then can I live out what He breathed into me. Only then can I rest in what He breathes upon me. Only then can I welcome what He breathes through me. It provides me with comfort and courage that brings hope to the heart and joy to the soul.
“For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4 NLT
1. Psalm 18:14-16
2. Genesis 2:7
3. Mark 15:37-39
4. Acts 2:1-11
5. Matthew 1:22-23
6. John 6:33-35