Today the world seems to be surrounded by the cynic. Pessimism abounds as we view our country through a press that expounds the world through the eyes of those that seek to tear down the foundations of our great and noble nation. A worldly pandemic threatens to turn our country into a multitude of pain and suffering individuals that are feeling so oppressed that they want nothing more than to be free of the dreaded disease. It is times like this that it is time to take a timeout and take a more pragmatic view of the world we live in and cast off all the negativity.
Occasionally we run across a speech or a writing that truly captures the spirit of our nation, or an event or a specific period of the year. Then every once in a while, we find something that captures the wonderment of all three.
A single question from the innocence of an 8-year-old youngster in 1897 captured the essence of the belief of a child in an America that was quite simple but yet was quickly changing. As great as the change to our nation has been since this simple question, the response to the little girl’s question is simple yet complex and is every bit as true today as it was when first published in The Sun of New York.
Young Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father a simple question. He told her that if it is in The Sun then it must be true. This prompted the little girl to write the newspaper and ask her question.
The following is the query and response in its’ full.
“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, 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 you 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, 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 lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
Merry Christmas everyone. Wishing to you that the true joy of Christmas fills and warms the hearts of all around the world during this wondrous time of the year. Yes world, there is a Christmas!
Tuffy Fields may be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.