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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Y es, Virginia...

there is a Santa Claus.

So much about the holiday season asks us to suspend belief. Have faith. Expect miracles. I realize that for some this is difficult. For me? It just comes naturally. Every day I believe in miracles and have faith in the unseen. It's a way of life in this house.

Not to say we're not down-to-earth, rational types. We are. In fact, sometimes I think we're too practical and logical. Still, there's room for more than one facet on any personality.

I believe. Do you?

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

"VIRGINIA O'HANLON."
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

--Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun. A quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. It was the work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church.

5 comments:

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing this - it's been a long time since I last read it.

Dru said...

Thanks for reminding us what the spirt of Christmas is all about.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the letter. It's perfect!

Ceri Hebert said...

I've never read that before, believe it or not. Thanks so much for posting it!

LK Hunsaker said...

Beautiful post :-)