Jesus at Radio City Music Hall?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Several years ago my family attended the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan.  It was one of the most phenomenal shows I have ever seen, and for one surprising reason.  It was full of worship.  Yes, that’s right.  In the middle of New York City at Radio City Music Hall, my family experienced a wonderful time worshiping God.  If you don’t believe me, and many don’t when I tell them, read this short essay below that was scrolled across a giant screen at the close of the show, right after the live nativity scene.

One Solitary Life


Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

This essay was adapted from a sermon by Dr James Allan Francis in “The Real Jesus and Other Sermons” © 1926 by the Judson Press of Philadelphia (pp 123-124 titled “Arise Sir Knight!”).

  • We saw that in Houston last year and were very impressed with it! I’m so glad they haven’t bowed to political correctness and dropped it from their program. What a great witness!

  • RZA

    Hi BP,

    I like your blog!
    When do you find the time???


  • Bill Pratt

    Thanks, Ray. I think we all make time for what we are passionate about. I just push other things in my life that are less important (you know, like wife, kids, etc. —- just kidding) aside so that I have time to do this. Plus I’ve generated a lot of material over the last 6 years while teaching, speaking, and attending seminary. I’m not starting from scratch, so that makes it easier.

  • Tyler

    Pastor Rick said this at the end of the sermon today

  • Bill Pratt

    Yep, he’s stealing my stuff! 🙂

  • Corrin

    We saw the Radio city show Thanksgiving weekend, the poem was not scrolled and at the time I was furious. It was one of my fav parts of going when I was younger and I wanted to share it with my children. I still have the program from Radio City when we went in high school. The poem was printed in the program as well in 1997.
    I hope that either there was a glitch when we went or that people complained and it was re added.

  • mmb

    I went to see the 2011 Radio City Christmas Spectacular again this year with my daughter. It was a great show. However, they left off One Solitary Life. It was one of my favorite parts of the show over the years.. and I was very disappointed it was not there.. The live Nativity was beautiful and they added a few Christmas Carols, also beautiful. But I missed this very powerful poem.

  • Very Dissapointed

    I brought my daughter in law and her mother to Radio City just yesterday…$300 in tickets. They are not from this area and have never been to New York. I could not wait for them to see what I have scene countless times since the early 1960’s…and my favorite part….the Nativity….the voice….the poem…..the stage set up…it was beyond magical!!!!!! I have never forgotten it!!! I want to know who was literally the IDIOT that changed the Nativity scene…I give the new Nativity an F- in comparison the the original version they used for years!!!!!! Please do us all a favor and change it!!!!! You have played other scenes for years….what ever made you change the most beautiful Nativity ever!!!!!!!!

  • That is disappointing. What did they change exactly?

  • Sad

    It has become less Christian like everything else. We are not allowed to have a tree during Christmas in school any longer, even though we called it the giving tree. A parent recently protested about having shamrocks up during March. She said that the clover represents the trinity and should not be displayed in the school. No one says anything because no one wants to sound prejudicial meanwhile it is okay to be prejudice towards those that are Christian. What happened to teaching our children to be tolerant and accepting of all?
    I have not gone to the Christmas Spectacular since they tried to make it less religious. Soon it will be the “holiday” Spectacular.

  • Frank Ambro

    Anyone remember a live horse drawn chariot in full gallop on stage at radio city in the Christmas show back in the day?


    went to the show 12/23/17 and while the performance was entertaining we left extremely disappointed. We were upset with the fact that the poem “One Solitary Life” was no longer displayed or recited during the living nativity scene. It has always been the highlight of the show for us and very moving. After all it IS the reason for the season!!