Today I wanted to highlight a couple of newer songs who have unlikely stories. These songs, would have never been written without all the circumstances being right for them. That’s why I think they are great Christmas songs. Not just because they’re popular (and probably over done), but because they have stories that are bigger than themselves.
In retrospect, this is true for virtually every song. Ever song that is written is not just lyrics set to music. They encapsulate not only the story the composer is trying to portray but also the story of the composer.
These songs are also unique as they approach the story of Christmas from Mary’s perspective, one that most definitely would have been different from the standard observer.
Mary Did You Know?
This song is kind of a surprise, as its author seems unlikely to have written it. Anyone who knows Mark Lowry, knows him as a comedian. In his most serious moment on stage, he’s making fun of someone or something. So, when you learn for the first time that he is responsible for the lyrical content of this song, it takes you a while to accept it. Buddy Greene wrote the music for the song, and it was first recorded by Michael English. It didn’t take long to for the song to become a hit on the Christian Music scene, which helped it spread enough to be picked up by Kathy Mattea who released it the following year. Many attribute the song to her, even though she was the second artist to record it.
Breath of Heaven
This song has a similar story, as it was originally written by Chris Eaton and later picked up and edited by Amy Grant. Grant changed some of the content of the verses to make them more personal. The song was released on Grant’s second album in 1992. From there it has been sung by many other artists and been included in many church Christmas productions.