Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yes, Sammy, There Is A Santa Claus

I found this old article from the New York Sun (I've pasted the actual text below) and it made me start thinking about Sammy... this is probably the last year that he'll believe, unquestioning, about the magic of Santa Claus. You see - he's 7 this year and will turn 8 in July. I remember being a young child and it was about this time that some of the "cooler and smarter" kids at school started talking about Santa Claus being "fake" or "not real." I didn't know what to believe, but I certainly started asking the questions at this time... and eventually, as with all of us, my questioning was justified.

Well - as we cross this threshold of life, I just wanted to take a moment to think about the power of Christmas for little children and how magical it is to them. At some point, for me, all of this disappeared and Christmas became about getting everything done, or making sure we had enough money to buy all of the necessary gifts. It became something, most certainly, unmagical. (Is that a word - spell check says no.) Anyway - I urge everyone to take a moment, read the writing from 1897 that is below, and think about the magic in our life this Christmas. While we may know the truth about Santa, the magic is NOT gone. Think about the magic of love, the magic of children, the magic of togetherness... and don't forget that magic can exist in life - even if it isn't fat and wearing a red suit.

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
The New York Sun - 1897

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

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 O'Hanlon

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.

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 external 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 you 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, 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 lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


Dan said...

It's an amazing thing, this Santa Claus. As a soon to be dad, I definitely struggle with the idea of "lying" to my kids. But... the IDEA of Santa Claus brings such joy and good "tidings" with it. It really is amazing.

Merry Christmas to the Morris Squad... hope it is a great one.

Oh... I also hope your son doesn't read your blog!