My daughter Sage called me yesterday to tell me that she and Saxton were both informed that there is no Santa Clause. Immediately tears sprang to my eyes and I was sad that they had been told such a thing. What a disappointment to divulge to a child your opinion, that the magic of Santa Clause does not exist at the very heart of the season. I was sorry that I was not physically there to discuss it in person, but I quickly remembered this letter and I read it to them:
As Written in Newseum
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York'sSun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus 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, and on posters and stamps.
|"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?
"115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."
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 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 may 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, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
After reading the letter, I added my own examples of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Clause. If he didn't exist I told them, then the joy in giving, seeing the Christmas trees lit for the first time and watching their baby brother cry out in utter glee at the sight of Christmas lights wouldn't either. All these things are part of the spirit of St. Nicholas. I reminded them they they can not see God nor the angels, but that they have faith that they are still there. Santa Clause embodies the whole meaning of Christmas and Christ's birthday as well as the hope for peace, love, wonderment and the power of a wish.
Friday, my husband's brother, wife, and my niece and nephew arrived from California. It was my first meeting with my new brother and sister in law and I have really loved getting to know them over the past few days. They are wonderful people and easy to be around. On Saturday we were in Seattle and standing in line at the Original Starbucks. It was cold and the wind was brisk, but the environment was warm (Pike's Place Market was all decked out for Christmas) and the positive energy was palpable. Accentuating all of this was a quartet singing by the door. They were amazing and believable when they sang of Jesus and praying for miracles. My brother-in-law, a devout Christian, really helped to bring their lyrics to my attention when he began to clap along to their song. The positive energy was contagious and led me to believe in my quest for miracles and the spirit of Christmas.
The last few days I biked and ran in the rain. Something about the quiet and serenity of the mist in the air caused me to reflect on what my Christmas wish would be and I realized that it was simple, happiness for everyone. Maybe it sound's silly and maybe it's for selfish reasons, but none-the-less, I wish for even those who have hurt me to be truly happy. My hope is that if another is content and satisfied with life, if their heart is smiling, then they will reflect that back into the world. Pain turned to love. Hurt to healing. It's a miracle that I pray for everyday. I don't wish for anyone to be punished, I pray instead that they be repaired in anyway they need in order to be at peace. This peace includes the ability to reconcile with others, which in some cases, includes myself.
Last night after a wonderful evening with family and a full house for Christmas Eve dinner, Jerry, Brayden, Max and I went for a walk around our neighborhood. We are so fortunate to have such wonderful neighbors and their Christmas spirit was in full force with over half the houses decked out with lights and decorations. As I watched Max's face light up for the hundredth time, I too smiled and got excited. His ability to find full joy in the simplest of things, is the very essence of the spirit of Christmas and Santa Clause.
Yes Savannah, Sam, Sage, Saxton, Brayden and Max, there is a Santa Clause, his love is as real as mine. When you feel that extra warmth in your heart during Christmas or think you hear someone whispering love in your ear, that is Santa Clause. When you ask Max what Santa Clause says, and see him smile and say, "Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!" you know that he does exist. Don't give up on magic, don't give up on faith, don't give up on Santa or the belief in all things Christmas. Hold on to that belief and the spirit of Christmas will live in your hearts forever. I love you my babies, to the moon and stars and back.