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.
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.
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.
115 West 95th Street."
A Letter To Virginia
The editor's caring reply, published as an unsigned editorial was subsequently to become 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."
Do you believe in:
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.