BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#780 - "Amaryllis" by Christy Nockels
Christy Nockels shares how a winter flower powerfully reflects the coming of Christ.
 


BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS, #780 -
Posted: December 07, 2016 | By: KevinDavis_NRT
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Ever since her start in Christian music as half of the husband-wife duo Watermark with her husband Nathan, Christy Nockels has had a passion for serving others and pouring out the love that Jesus Christ has poured into her. That is a passion which is communicated in every element of the music she creates. Her most recent live worship album Let it Be Jesus was one of my top 10 worship albums of 2015. The project features melodic, worshipful songs all focused on singing the truth of God's character and Word into the hearts of listeners.

I was excited to hear Christy's new full-length Christmas album The Thrill of Hope, which features classic hymns "O Come O Come Emmanuel," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "O Holy Night" alongside the original songs "Song in the Air," "Wrap This One Up" and "Amaryllis." I had the chance to speak with Christy about "Amaryllis."

Please tell me the personal story behind this song.

This song started 2 years ago. The week of my birthday, my sister-in-law and my brother sent me a white ceramic pot with some dirt in it and a letter she had written to me titled "Amaryllis Prayers." At that time in my life, Nathan and I had come to the realization that we were in the process of transitioning out of the season we were in, and it was really hard on me. 

We had moved to Atlanta in 2008 to help plant a church there, and we thought we would be there forever. We've learned to never say never, because you never know where God is going to take you. There were a lot of things going on in my life at that time. I was turning 41, and God was raising me up in a new way at that moment in my life to push through some things and to actually kind of grow up in a way and learn how to use my voice in a different way. Not just my singing voice, but to start sharing stories that I've harbored through the years. The podcast I'm hosting is part of that, and I was at the very beginning stages of that. 

A lot of times we think maybe I'll wait until this hard time is over, and then I'll push through and I'll grow. The beauty of this letter that my sister-in-law sent me is that the Amaryllis was the bulb that was down inside that dirt. She talked about how an Amaryllis grows and blooms in the bitterness of winter. There's no gentle afternoon breeze and sun. While everything else outside is dying in the winter, there's this beautiful picture in your house of this pot with shoots of green that start coming out in the bleakness of winter. I made her a songwriter on this song as this letter had meant so much to me. 

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Matthew 4:16 (NKJV): "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned."

John 3:17 (NKJV): "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV): "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

Revelation 21:4-5 (NKJV): And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

What is the takeaway message?

One of my favorite lines in the letter is "the rare and beautiful treasures that choose to bloom when the conditions are the darkest, in the bleakness of winter, the Amaryllis will push up through the soil, displaying the beauty that it was created to share." Another line I loved is "the Amaryllis will not look to the world around it, instead it will look to the world within it, the beauty inside itself that the Creator has already set inside of it." 

I thought about how it's so easy with social media right now to look around and see what everybody else is doing and how they are blooming and growing. Instead of looking to the world around me, this precious prayer was a reminder to obey the world that Jesus has already set in you, and how He has already created and wired you. Obey His voice. Look to Him. There's all these ways that this prayer encouraged me. I knew this was going to be a song. 

You can take it different ways. You can get into blooming and what it's like to display your true self. I was praying and asking God, "What should this look like?" It came to me that Jesus came like an Amaryllis. He came in the winter, in the silence that the world had never known, that had hardened up the soil. I'd been learning about the lineage of Jesus, and it is so beautiful knowing that it's our lineage, that He chose these broken and fragile people to come through. 

The song is about how He came when we thought we'd never see the brilliance of spring. He came and brought His Light in the middle of winter. He didn't come when conditions were the best. Because of that, we are now the Amaryllis. Because He came and pushed through, we have that same resurrection life in us now. We might be in a winter of our own, waiting on something that we are longing for. Because of His life within us, we can push through the soil. 

Christmas can be the loneliest time of year. Whatever that bleakness of winter looks like, because He came, we have that same life, and we can bloom the brilliance of summer in the bleakness of winter. The truth of His Word is that He's making all things new again. He is here with us now.

Lyrics:
Talk about a winter
The world had never known, 
Talk about a silence
That hardened up the soil;
No more life left in Eden,
But You knew the time would come...
'Cause You were growing up a family
That You would call Your own,
And through a fragile people
The Light of Life would come, 
And when it seemed like we'd never see Spring, 
Heaven gave a King! 

Like an Amaryllis, blooming at Christmas,
When everything was cold and dark 
Your love broke through and You shined
With the brilliance of summer,
Right in the middle of winter!
You came surprising the night,
Like a Christmas Amaryllis...

Here I am waiting 
In a winter of my own
If it's gonna be this cold here
Why couldn't it just snow?
At least I could say through the pain 
That it's somehow beautiful...
And everybody knows that the time to bloom is spring,
But You're asking to break through the hardness of this freeze
And You say that You're with me
And I can make it through anything....

Like an Amaryllis, blooming at Christmas,
When everything is cold and dark 
Your love breaks through and I shine
With the brilliance of summer,
Right in the middle of winter!
Somehow surprising the night 
Like a Christmas Amaryllis...

There are the rare and beautiful treasures
That grow when it's coldest
When nobody's watching...
Sending a message to a sleeping world
That You are here with us now
And You are making all things new again...

Like an Amaryllis, blooming at Christmas,
When everything is cold and dark 
Your love breaks through and You shine!
With the brilliance of summer,
Right in the middle of winter!
Ever surprising the night, 
Like a Christmas Amaryllis
You're still surprising the night 
Like a Christmas Amaryllis...


What I love about the original Christmas worship song "Amaryllis" by Christy Nockels is that it sets my mind on the Light of Christmas, Jesus. The message of the song strips away the commercialism and secular celebration of this most blessed season, and instead focuses in on the ultimate gift of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hear a yearning and longing from Christy to see Jesus face to face, and the phrase "Sending a message to a sleeping world that You are here with us now and You are making all things new again" is something all believers can sing to God. That's one of those beautiful truths that we can all cling to and to get through anything we might be dealing with on this side of eternity, knowing that we have a blessed hope waiting for us in Heaven. 

The ultimate gift of Christmas is that "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." That's cause for true community amongst God's sons and daughters and true fellowship with Him and one another. Jesus wants to give you Himself this Christmas and wants you to share in His light of life and not walk in darkness. His love was born and bloomed in winter, like the winter flower, the Amaryllis. Now that Jesus has ascended to Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father, He tells us in His Word that through the Holy Spirit living inside of us we are the light of the world, and a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. This song celebrates that amazing gift. Amen to that!

Listen to the song below.
 


 

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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