Christmas is upon us and despite the challenges we continue to face, we still have much to celebrate this holiday season.
What follows is the reprinting of a timeless editorial from 1897, in which New York Sun writer Francis Pharcellus Church seeks to assuage the concerns of a young girl whose friends have called into question the existence of Santa Claus.
Through writing to her that “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” Church’s words inspire us all to remember the magic of Christmas.
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?
115 W. 95th Street
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 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, 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, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
In the spirit of the holidays, we ask that if you can, help those in need by contributing to The Brighter Christmas Fund.
Tax-deductible donations may be sent to The Brighter Christmas Fund, c/o The Star Democrat, P.O. Box 600, Easton, MD 21601. Donations also may be made online at www.brighterchristmasfund.org. Click the “Donate” button.
A big thank you to everyone who has donated this year.
And from all of us at the Star Democrat and APG Media of Chesapeake, we wish you happy holidays and a very merry Christmas.