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Radio City Music Hall’s Nativity Scene

Our family went to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.  (I know, it’s cheesy – but I wanted to say I’ve been.)  The production values were great, and it was the kind of corny, classic Christmas production that we don’t see very often anymore – but is actually fun.  However, what surprised me was the climax of the production.  The entire spectacular – all the Rockettes, dancing, orchestra, dancing Santas, etc – all led up to a huge nativity scene.  Flying angels, camel’s onstage, huge cast, fabulous set – the whole shooting match.  Most important, they read directly from the scripture and told the Christmas story in a clear, powerful way.

First, I was surprised to see the Nativity story in an NBC production.  It’s so easy for corporate productions like this to default to the easy “Santa” and “holiday” themes.  It was a bold move, and it actually generated the most applause in the entire show.

Second, the question occurred to me if any of the Christian organizations who are boycotting companies like GAP for NOT mentioning the word “Christmas” will be calling NBC to congratulate them on telling the Nativity story in the Radio City Music Hall show.  If these organizations don’t do exactly that, then we’ll know their purpose with boycotts isn’t actually to make a difference, it’s just about fundraising…..

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  1. Hi, Phil.

    I went to see the show last year and was also impressed with the Nativity scene.  I don’t know if the organizations you mentioned have thanked them, but I think it’s a good idea for us as individuals to thank them.  It’s now on my “to do” list.

    Merry Christmas!




  2. I stood outside of Walmart last night ringing the bell for The Salvation Army’s Kettle Drive and wonder how to best thank Walmart for not caving to pressure not to let us be there.  Many, many malls, stores and shopping centers have “disallowed” this tradition that dates back over 100 years.

    We Christians are great at shaking fists …shaking hands?  Not to much.

  3. Phil-

    I had the opportunity to take my entire family to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular at The Fox Theater here in Atlanta this year. It was a tremendous production, made even moreso by the finale, featuring the Nativity based on the story, “One Solitary Life.” Letters have already left my desk to The Fox and the City of Atlanta, congratulating them for having the courage to make such a presentaion at a time when the culture is trying to sweep it under the rug. I heard more “Merry Christmas”es leaving the theater that day that I had to that point. It truly evoked the spirit of Christmas in the hearts of those who attended that performance. It may not impact the world, but it made a difference in the lives of the hundreds of us who were there…and that’s a good start. Merry Christmas!

  4. Remember the climax of the original Charlie Brown Christmas?  Where Linus goes up and just tells the Nativity story?  “That’s what it’s about, Charlie Brown.”

  5. Loved it two years in a row. Great bang for the buck, and a fantastic gospel message in the least likely of places. 

    Note to the travel weary, the grand old theatre is a dangerous place if you’ve been walking midtown all day- dangerous to those of us trying to stay awake. No knock against the show, but just having the luxury of a comfy seat in Manhattan with the dim lights… it was great/terrible at the same time.

    Must see in a good venue. I’m sure Atlanta’s FOX fit the bill. Skip if it hits an arena near you.



  6. I am so glad that the Navity Scene was included at Radio City Music Hall. Yes, it is a good idea to contact the organizations that wanted to boycott The Gap so they can know to write to Radio City to thank them! Who were the organizations?

  7. The following is from Wikipedia; however, I’m pretty sure I also heard about it in a (pre-Goldberg) special about the program.  Apparently, Charles Schultz also faced obstacles, but had the gumption (and the clout) to include his “Nativity” scene:

    ‘ Network executives were not at all keen on several aspects of the show, forcing Schulz and Melendez to wage some serious battles to preserve their vision. The executives did not want to have Linus reciting the story of the birth of Christ from the Gospel of Luke;[1] the network orthodoxy of the time assumed that viewers would not want to sit through passages of the King James Version of the Bible. A story reported on the Whoopi Goldberg-hosted version of the making of the program… that Charles Schulz was adamant about keeping this scene in, remarking that “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” ‘


  8. My wife and I were there on December 14th, and I was completely surprised at the end.  If I may be so bold, I would even say there was an anointing on the moment.  It was a great way to cap off a great performance!

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