Nov 27, 2006

Is There A Santa Claus?

All my life, I've heard the response to be, "Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus." But, I have never read the story behind the response... With the help of Google and the rest of the Internet, I found it... And, yes, there IS a Santa Claus... The question was posed in 1897 through a letter to the editor of the New York Sun... Click here to see a copy of the original!

"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 [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 measure 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 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 man 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.

My son asked me not long ago about Santa Claus... Of course, we were in the middle of JCPenney with about a billion little children around... I stalled, but I know he has been told at school that there is no Santa... The truth is St. Nicholas really did exist... Here is a tidbit from The name "Santa Claus" came from the Dutch "Sinter Klass" pronunciation of St. Nicholas. St. Nicholas was a Christian priest, who later became a bishop. He was a wealthy person, and traveled the country helping others, giving gifts of money and other presents. St. Nicholas chose to remain hidden while giving these gifts, so the children were told to go to sleep quickly or he would not come! While the actual man passed away long ago, today's Santa Claus is more about the legacy left behind by the original - caring, giving, loving... I think one of the most important aspects is that he gave IN SECRET... That is, he sought no recognition for his generosity... From the history, it appears that at least the adults knew, and possibly the children knew who he was also... But, he only left the gifts in secret... There IS a Santa Claus... He lives in each of us who believes - believes in love, caring, giving, and sharing.... and the wonderment of child-like amazement and curiosity....


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