Merry Christmas from the News
As another tumultuous year winds down, we find that holiday most eagerly anticipated by children — and our own inner children — close at hand. Christmas is right around the corner. trees are up and decorated. Presents are in various stages of wrapping. And every day brings another round of holiday greetings in the mail.
Part of what makes the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year is that we can all take a collective breath, once we have everything — our work, our shopping, our decorating, our wrapping, our cooking, our stockings hung by the chimney with care — done. There is so much of a rush to get to that Christmas morning, but once it arrives, what a magical moment it is as families gather and take time to be together, to let the rest of the world drift into the background if only for an hour or so as presents are unwrapped and hugs are shared.
Not everyone gets such a moment during the holiday season. We encourage those who can to be generous, to make a contribution to an organization that seeks to make Christmas better for those in need. There is still time to help with the Kent County News‘ and Star Democrat’s Brighter Christmas Fund, helping families on the Mid-Shore. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to: The Brighter Christmas Fund, c/o The Star Democrat, P.O. Box 600, Easton, MD 21601. Donations also may be made online at www.brighterchristmasfund.org; click the “Donate” button.
To help bolster the holiday spirit, we reprint here the timeless editorial from 1897 seeking to assuage the concerns of a young letter writer whose friends told her that that embodiment of the Christmas spirit, Santa Claus, is not real. It was New York Sun editorialist Francis Pharcellus Church who penned the famous response, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”
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?
115 W. 95th 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 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 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, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.