Santa Claus is Comin' to Town
performed by (Sweet Baby) James Taylor
Francis P. Church, The New York Sun's religious-affairs reporter, took on the task of answering a seemingly simple question, posed to him in a letter from an inquisitive little girl, and his eloquent response has provided an answer for children-- and adults-- for over a century.
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 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 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.
No Santa Claus! You might not as well 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, because 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.
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.
-- The New York Sun, September 21, 1897
ps. I finished the Christmas shopping today. Virtual high-five!!