Yes, Virginia, There is a Christ Child
Christmas . . . A Holy Day . . . A Day of Wonder
Every year in December, the entire world seems to stand still for 24 hours. Most restaurants and stores are closed, and while the season leading up to the holidy is busy, we call it "hustle and bustle" rather than "rat-race."
In nearly every country around the globe, children anticipate the arrival of gifts brought by a generous benefactor that some call Saint Nicholas, others, Father Christmas and for most in my country, Santa Claus. And in the midst of the holiday hype, there are still a great many people who do truly celebrate this holiday as it was meant to be celebrated, a Holy Day.
Regardless of attempts to make the day politically correct and substitute the word Holiday for Christmas in commercial greetings, the majority of the world recognizes this special day's Holy significance (even if it doesn't approve). So keep reading to discover the inspiration I received from Virginia O'Hanlon's letter written more than 100 years ago.
Photo courtesy of the Book cover from "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus"
What's with the Name of this Page?
Did the "Yes, Virginia" get your attention?
I've named this page, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Christ Child" because my thoughts were inspired by Virginia O'Hanlon's 1897 letter to the editor of the New York Sun and the response by the paper's editorial writer, Francis P. Church. Virginia was beginning to question the existence of her childhood hero, Santa Claus. Others who'd become disillusioned about the holiday had told her that her faith in the Jolly Elf was foolish, and even her own father didn't seem to have an answer to satisfy her. As I read that century old story, I thought how the question and the answer also fit Jesus Christ during this Christmas season.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of a Savior in the 21st century, there are many who are skeptical of his existence. Sadly there are even more who believe he was born, but don't believe he was more than a great prophet or leader in the first century. Even though His coming to the earth was so monumental leaders in the early centuries thought it worth starting an entire era, an equal number of dignitaries would now prefer we use C.E. (Common Era) following the year rather than A.D. (Anno Domini - Latin for Year of our Lord).
But there is a reason that so many still celebrate Christmas. It's no accident that the bulk of the world still considers it a Holy Day and a day of wonder, and it's more than just those who attend church every Sunday. Millions, perhaps Billions, who celebrate Christmas recognize the celebration as one honoring Christ regardless of the countless attempts to completely secularize the day.
Yes, Virginia, George, Randy, Mary, Ginny, Tim, Sylvia, Joshua, Corryn, Carson, Jeffrey, Persephone, Sammie, Christian, Mia, Tyler, Darian, Caston, Lexie, Natasha, or whatever your name might be . . . there really is a Christ Child.
In the words of Francis Church . . .
"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 of truth and knowledge."
These words of Francis Church are not just words of rhetoric to a wee child. These lines are truth. We question Christ because our minds can not fathom a love that is unconditional, a life that is never ending and a peace that is beyond measure; however, all of these are available and all of them were introduced to the world at Christmas.
The Original Story is Available - on Amazon
I really think this is a story we all should read, and not as if the editor is speaking about the saint of long ago whose story has grown larger than life over the centuries. We should read it with the Christ Child in mind because nearly every sentence describes the Baby in the Manger and the Man He became as well as it does the gift giver who found a home at the North Pole after centuries of lore.
Christmas . . . A Time of Giving and Generosity
A Time of Beauty and Joy
Francis Church went on to say about Santa:
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.
This same is true of Christ. Christmas is celebrated as a time of love, generosity and devotion. People give to worthy causes and volunteer to stand and ring the Salvation Army bell for hours in the cold. Why? Because we are naturally generous and thoughtful? Not really. We only know how to be generous and thoughtful because of the baby in the manger. Left completely to our own devices, we would become corrupt.
How do I know that the Christ-Child exists? Because I've seen the way He works. I've seen Him work in so many lives. Yes, I've seen healings, but I've also seen bigger miracles! I've seen a man who was strong, judging, self-sufficient and very racist become humble and accepting of those with whom he shares no commonalites in color or culture. I've witnessed families being drawn back together through forgiveness and love. I've experienced life changing attitudes, joy, blessings and abundance in my own life since I began to recognize the truth of this baby's beauty and power.Perhaps you're not yet convinced that the baby born in Bethlehem on that day so long ago really has the ability to change every heart in the entire world; perhaps Christmas is not a time of Love, Joy, Patience and especially Peace. Maybe you're skeptical that One you can not see, can see you.
Christmas . . . A Time of Peace and Goodwill
A Time of Wonder, Excitement and Magic
It seems there is something magical about this holiday. Stories have been created featuring talking barnyard animals and gifts appearing from out of nowhere. There are countless cartoons, movies, dramas, skits and plays that have been drawn and written to emphasize the wonder of the holiday. Somewhere deep inside I believe we know the season celebrates an occasion unlike any other. Yes, we'll find those rude, obnoxious scrooges (even some from within the walls of the church), pushing, shoving and hoarding, but if we look, we'll discover there are more who have embraced the peace and goodwill Jesus offers.Christmas Carols tell of it, poetry embraces it. There is something in the air that gives us hope and a desire to help those around us who have less. The willingness of people to give to charities is higher at Christmas, even though, because of the extra spending of the season, most have less to give, because somehow we feel the presence of the Christ-child, the author of all that is good.
More Pages that Feature Christmas
- For Advent, The Greatest of These is Love
Paul tells us that love is the greatest thing we have to give. Focus on love this Christmas. This book digs into the Faith, Hope and especially the love of the holiday. It will help you understand Christ's love better.
- Handmade German Star Ornaments
German Stars (AKA Moravian Stars) are beautiful ornaments. They also make great gifts or creative craft projects for folks about 9 and up.
- Christmas Quiz - See How Much You Know
Most people base their knowledge of Christmas on carols and stories. Let's see how much of the Christmas story you know from the BIBLE!
Christmas . . . A Time of Love
Everyone, deep down, longs to be loved. The need for love is so ingrained in our being that even a newborn who doesn't realize what love is will wither and die without it. Christmas has become a time to emphasize this emotion. Many girls will receive engagement rings in the days prior to and after this celebration. Relationships will be rekindled, and it's sad, but those who feel as though no one loves them will feel worse this time of year. We miss those who've passed away a bit more, and work to get to see everyone we care about during this season.
Christmas is a time of love. Perhaps we see it as such because the One who we celebrate IS the definition of the word. The Bible says that God IS love. Without Him we wouldn't know what love truly is, and Christmas is the culmination of years of promise, the promise to send a gift to the creation He loves (that's us!) I can't create a page dedicated to Christmas and the Christ Child without emphasizing that Christ came to earth out of love. His deepest desire was/is that we know our Father in heaven, and since after several thousand years of revelations, humans didn't quite get it, He sent His representative to us, His Son. He sent Him so we could know God better, and He sent Him to be the sacrifice we'd need if we were going to be able to spend eternity with our Creator.
There are many who will not celebrate Christmas because they don't believe in the Christ child. Many can't fathom a love that is unconditional and freely given. They don't understand it, so they won't celebrate. The rest, who don't believe but celebrate, haven't given up hope yet! Even though they aren't convinced that Jesus is the Christ, they aren't ready to abandon the hope that someone really does love them that much. Francis Church said it well:
Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
In this dark world, the love of Christmas is often hard to see; however, not only is Jesus love, He is also light. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the light. I normally have white lights all around my house this time of year. They remind me that in the midst of this dark time, Jesus is my light. The light brings warmth and safety, the light makes me feel loved! The baby who came to be the Christ, came to show us how much the Creator of the Universe loves us. Christmas is our reminder of that love, a love to share, a love to cherish, a love that is larger than we can possibly imagine.
Your Christmas Celebration
What is your Christmas Celebration Like?
Christmas Year Round
The feeling of Christmas needn't stop on December 26 or even January 6 (the Epiphany or Orthodox Christmas). It's not meant to be a one day feeling that comes at midnight one day and is gone at midnight the next. That feeling of good cheer is designed to be shared year round to give others who don't know Christ hope.
If we "root" ourselves in this child and let His Spirit lead us in all that we do, we'll begin to experience the Spirit of Christmas year round. People everywhere are saying, "It doesn't FEEL like Christmas?" " I can't wait to get into the Christmas Spirit." They want that goodwill, peace, joy, love, magic and beauty that the movies and carols boast. And, truth be told, isn't that what we really want? Don't we each want that feeling we get when we watch as child's face as she opens presents? Aren't we eager to have a peace and contentment deep inside that can keep us from plummeting into the darkness on those days when our world falls apart?
That's what the Spirit of Christmas is all about! It is attainable, and it's available 365 days a year, not just one single day, a week or even a season. It's the joy that George experienced in "It's a Wonderful Life." It's the revelation Ebenezer Scrooge discovered in Dicken's "Christmas Carol," and the fantastic news is, it can be yours. 24/7/365 . . . the joy, the wonder, the love, the peace, the contentment, the magic, the goodness, the beauty, the Spirit of Christmas is available to you when you believe the One born in a stable 2000+ years ago really is the King of kings, the Lord of Creation, the Author of Life, the gift of God, the Savior of the World and the Giver of the Spirit, the Spirit of Christmas.