Thursday, December 24, 2009

Classic Reprint

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 West Ninety-fifth 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 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 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, not 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.

-- Editorial page of the New York Sun, September 21, 1897

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