Please Tell Me The Truth. Is There A Santa Claus?

I recently read the following story in 'The Book Of Gentle Wisdom' by Allan Kellehear. I had never heard about this before, but as is stated later, this work of veteran newsman Francis Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, on posters and stamps, and the Internet.

If you have read about this before feel free not to proceed any further, but for those, like me, for whom this is new please read on and enjoy the experience.

Virginia O'Hanlon
Virginia O'Hanlon | Source

A Letter To The New York Sun

Approximately 120 years ago, just before Christmas, the editor of the New York Sun newspaper received this letter.

"Dear Editor,
I am eight 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 95th Street."

Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun, wrote the iconic response to a letter about Santa in 1897.
Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun, wrote the iconic response to a letter about Santa in 1897. | Source

A Letter To Virginia


The editor's poignant reply, published as an unsigned editorial was subsequently to became so famous that it has since been reprinted many times and in many languages. (I feel the newsman, Francis Church, who wrote the editorial, doubted that an eight year old had written the letter herself but may have been aided by one of her parents, hence his detailed reply. Nevertheless, I'm sure he also believed that same parent would read and explain his reply to her.)

Victoria's letter and the editor's reply are shown in the New York Sun newspaper clipping below.

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 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 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, 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 10 times 10 thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

Source

Do you believe in:

  • A Santa Claus
  • A God
  • Neither, they are both fictional.
See results without voting

Please Tell Me The Truth. Is There A God?

I feel this same argument posed by Francis Church for the existence of Santa Claus could be used to justify the existence of God, and you could almost exchange His name for Santa Claus in the editor's amazing reply.

Here is a cute poem I came across while I was researching, the author unknown, but I wish I had written it:

'The Fool Hath Said'

"There is no God", the speaker cries,

"Don't let your thoughts be chained:

This universe evolved itself,

The world is self-contained."

Just then an urchin in the crowd

A skillful pebble throws

Which accurately lands upon

The atheistic nose.

"Who threw that stone?' the speaker roars;

At which the cockney elf,

Intuitively keen, retorts,

"No one! It frew itself."

So a pathetic casualty,

Discomforted and worse,

Goes home to meditate upon

This causeless Universe.

More by this Author


24 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I like your poem and the larger question that it prompts.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Flourish, so do I. Thanks for reading.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

Beautiful poem and so very well-organized....loved the introduction....these are questions we will just have to answer on faith. :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I am crying with joy. Enough said.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

I'd never seen that letter before and it's delightful. I think Francis Church was a very wise man and I bet he had children of his own. As he says, how empty the world would be without childhood beliefs, delights and wonder, or those of the adults who still believe in Santa Claus (or Father Christmas as we often say in Britain), like me!

Wonderful hub, full of hope and wisdom and deep thoughts. Ann


ocfireflies 2 years ago

The answer is YES! Smiles. A definite V+!

Many Blessings,

Kim


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Great to see you as always Bill, thanks for your kind words, and glad you enjoyed the poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Glad they are tears of joy Eric, thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ann thank you so much for your beautiful comments. Yes I agree with you about Francis Church, what a wise and caring man. I'm sure he was a father. I hope Father Christmas gives you all you wish for this year.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hello Dear Kim, great to see you as always, glad you enjoyed, and I like the "YES" answer. Thank you for the vote up too. Blessings to you.


Rayne123 2 years ago

What a beautiful hub and amazing response to the little girl's question wow.

If we do not believe in the unseen we take away the magic in the hearts of children ; then we are left with only what is fear in an explosive world. Its through the eyes of children that we believe.

I believe in the miracles of Christmas when one awakes to a house filled with blessings.

Santa Clause is send as an Angel to bring joy; hope and love filled with miracles and blessings.

Great hub

Blessings

Laurie


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Hi Jodah, I enjoyed reading your hub and poem included. I have read that letter before but I enjoyed reading it again. Up and more and sharing. Blessings, Faith Reaper


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Great share my friend.. it just seems that every generation is the time of skepticism.. don't you agree? it makes it harder for anyone to believe because of what lays in waiting... But hope is God's chauffeur and it should be ours too :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Hi Jodah, I had never seen that letter before, how quaint and brilliant at the same time! I can see why its been copied all over the world, and I loved the poem too!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Laurie, thank you for that beautiful comment. I am glad you enjoyed this hub. Have a blessed Christmas.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Faith. I'm sure many have read the letter before, but it's so wonderful that it's good to read again I'm sure. Thanks for the vote up and share.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Frank my friend, and for your insightful words. I agree.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Nell, yes, you see why I had to share it. Glad you enjoyed, and the poem with the little cockney lad.


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 2 years ago from Alabama

Wow, that is a magnificent answer to a little girl's question.

Without God/Santa, there is nothing.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes wetnosedogs, It was a wonderful response. I agree with you about God and Santa too. The world will be a sad place when there's nothing left to believe in. Thanks for reading.


drbj profile image

drbj 2 years ago from south Florida

Ah, yes, Johan, the famous Church Letter to Virginia. Thanks for reminding me. And there is a Santa Claus. I ought to know since I wrote 'Interview with Santa Claus.'


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well drbj, who better to confirm his existence than the one who interviewed him face to face. I suppose being located in this rather isolated continent the Church letter to Virginia escaped my knowledge, anyway I think it was worth revisiting. Now if you excuse me I have an appointment with a whale's mouth..haha.


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 2 years ago from Louisiana

This is a great hub. And that editor's letter is the true spirit of Christmas. If only more people believed as he does and could inspire belief in little children and the rest of us. Maybe there would be more magic in this world. Maybe we would start to see.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Yes Nikki, The world needs more magic inspired by people like Francis Church. Thank you for your comment, glad you enjoyed.

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