Friday, November 28, 2008

Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

I just love Christmas. It's just so magical! And the belief of Santa Claus has a lot to do with that.

I went to the East Ridge Christmas parade last Saturday night. I decided to go, even though I didn't have anyone to go with. And I am so glad I did. I ended up standing next to a man and his seven-year-old daughter. It was so much fun watching the parade with this little girl. She just watched the parade with awe. But it was a long parade. And about halfway through, she began to get antsy. So, I told her that she needed to watch, because Santa Claus hadn't come by yet. Here's the conversation that followed:

girl: Santa Claus is going to be in the parade?
Me: Didn't you know Santa comes to all the Christmas parades?
girl: The real Santa?
Me: Of course! Is there any other?

So, she got so excited and watched the rest of the parade...and as predicted, Santa came riding in on a fire truck to greet all of the children.

It reminds me of another little girl, who's letter to the editor of the New York Sun has become quite popular. Eight-Year-Old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote the letter, and a quick response was printed in 1897.

Here's the letter and response:

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.

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.

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