By Don McAlavy: CNJ Columnist
T his is the reply young Virginia O’Hanlon of 115 W. 9th Street, New York, received in the form of an editorial written by the Sun’s Francis P. Church:
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, a 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 by 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 your life its highest beauty and joy.
Alas! How dreary would the world be 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 the fairies!
You might et 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
Clause coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Clause, 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
there’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the unseeable things 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 ever 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 it.
Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world, there is nothing else as real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay ten thousand year from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: