Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yes, Virginia...

I don't have much time for a real blog, but as I was perusing the news today, I noticed some info about this 1897 editorial, better known as "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." A movie is being made about this editorial in which an 8 year-old girl wrote to the New York Sun to inquire as to whether there was a Santa Claus or not, having been told by classmates that such a thing did not exist. The response has become one of the most reprinted pieces in new history. I felt ashamed that I'd heard this quote "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus..." before, but never knew where it came from or what the significance was. I suppose I thought maybe it was written in a tone where the rolling of eyes would be appropriate, but found myself in a mist of touched tears when I read it through, recognizing such beauty and care in the response the author wrote. So, with Christmas a little over a month away and Black Friday, the season kick-off and cue for sheer insanity and greedy chaos to ensue just around the corner, I thought I'd post this as a reminder of innocence and beauty and faith.

"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 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 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment