A Look at the Bright Side of Life

Yes…

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Christmastime has arrived.  And with it the stories of Christmases past and present, both real and fiction come to mind.  One of the most famous stories about this holiday is the one about the little girl who questioned if indeed Santa Claus did exist.  The little girl was an eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon who wrote a letter to the editor of the New York’s Sun.  Despite my frequent reading, this story had evaded me until 2013, when I read it in the December 26th edition of the Eatonton Messenger.  Below is a reprint of the newspaper editorial that was originally printed on September 21, 1897.

Yes, Virginia…

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. 59th St.

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 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. …

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 no, but that’s no proof that they are not there.  Nobody can 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 supernatural 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.

And with that I would like to say…

Merry-Christmas

 

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