Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus....

Once up on a time eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun newspaper. 

Her letter looked like this:


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?



In response an unsigned editorial was published in response to Virginia: 

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except 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.



This was printed on September 21st of 1897.  

This reply to Virginia is no less relevant over 100 years later.  

While I teach my children practical skills every day (cooking, cleaning, responsibility), I also hope that I teach them to dream and to look beyond what you cannot see.  

Just because someone carries a bible, doesn't mean they have Faith.  Faith is something you can't touch or put your hand on.  It just exists inside you.  

An act of kindness may get caught on tape and go viral on youtube, but it existed inside the heart of a man or woman who reached out to a fellow human being.  You can't touch or hold the feelings in another person's heart.  

Joy isn't touchable and yet you can see it on another person's face.  

Dreams can't be downloaded from our brain onto a USB to be saved for another day to be rewatched again and again like a Happy Days rerun.  They're a time-lapsed short that flashes behind our eyelids just moments before we awake.  And some of us chase those dreams - those flashes - a whole life long (or in turn run screaming from them).    

I hope that no matter how old my children get, that they start to or begin to appreciate all of the things you can't hold or touch.  

To me, they matter more.  


...just because they can't see Santa Claus, doesn't mean he doesn't exist. 

Because, he does. 

Because, we believe.

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