I would like to share and reprint a classic editorial that I am sure you have all read or heard about in some way. In 1897, an eight-year-old girl named Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the The Sun newspaper in New York asking if there is a Santa Claus. Her friends at school had told her that he did not!
Newsman Francis Farcellus Church responded to her in the most reprinted newspaper editorial of all time. Though it was printed 111 years ago, the essence of its message has not changed one bit.
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?
“115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH 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 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
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.
Merry Christmas to all!