Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus 1897

Merry Christmas Readers,

By now, you've probably noticed that I do Christmas in December. I try to immerse myself in the things that I love and miss about the season. This time of year, I try to help in any small way that I can to bring back the spirit of Christmas to friend and stranger. From donning a red suit and beard, to volunteering to do what I can for others, I try to help make wonderful memories while helping others remember.

That includes myself. From remembering those Christmases past when the world was simpler, to those tough Christmases when I was far from home, broke, and had very little, to those years when the smallest things brought me more joy than I could have possibly imagined, Christmas is a time for me to remember those whose smiles and laughter I miss so much. It breaks my heart that they are not here, yet it warms my soul remembering them.

As for finding the spirit of Christmas? I've always believed that it's in our heart. It feels warm and good. It's something that can't be bought or borrowed or bartered for. It's all about our believing in the Lord. And of course, believing in the essence of Santa Claus.

In 1897, that essence was explained to a little girl who wrote to the editor of New York's The Sun newspaper. Her small question and his reply made history for all of the right reasons.

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of The Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. 

The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial. Appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps, it really is the most read editorial in history.

So grab a cup of coffee, kick back for a few minutes, and enjoy the timeless heartfelt thoughts expressed here. You most certainly will come away feeling pretty good knowing that not much has changed.

The Letter from Virginia O'Hanlon:

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?


The Editorial response printed in THE SUN:

"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."

Francis Pharcellus Church
September, 21st, 1897

-- end of 1897 editorial.

And with that, I pray you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
May God bless you and yours!

Tom Correa

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment.