Merry Christ­mas from the News

Kent County News - - OPINION - From all of us at the Kent County News: Merry Christ­mas and happy hol­i­days!

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.brighter­christ­mas­; 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.”

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 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.

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