Bob Mitchell: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

In response to a little girl’s letter to a Chicago newspaper years ago seeking in formation about tales she heard about their being no Santa Claus, the paper’s response has become legendary for the holiday season. Although used previously, the editorial is highly worthy of appearing in this column once again.

“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” wrote the editor, “He exists as certain as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life the 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 Virginia. There would be no children-like faith, then no poetry, no romance to make terrible this existence. We would have no enjoyment except for 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 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?

“Not everyone sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that children or man can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of coarse not, but that is no sign they are not there.

“No one can conceive or imagine all the wonders that are unseen, or unseeable, in the world. You may tear apart a baby’s rattle to see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man in the world can tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry and romance can push aside that certain and view the supernal beauty and glory beyond.

“Is it all real? Yes, Virginia, there is nothing else in this world so real and abiding.”

“No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and 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!”

A time for rejoicing

No matter what tradition or continent that might be considered, the prime reason and observation of Christmastime must be on the birth of Jesus Christ all those years ago.

These days, commercialization of the season has become paramount in the minds of some, possibly most, which is for all the wrong reasons. When Christ was born in that manger under the signs of a special star, there was ushered into this earth a new way of believing that carried all the good purposes possibly have existed since that time.

There will be times of giving, there will be times of helping those less fortunate, and there will be times of observing the true meaning of Christmas. But, human nature being what it is, this thought will be short lived in the lives of many today.

Then there is the chance this Christmas can mean a new beginning for lives that might be out of line with ideal civilization, as it could be even these days.

Best of the season

Annually, this closing column of the year bears a greeting from the Mitchell families wherever they might be. In observance of a new decade just around the corner, there is another thought in my mind, and that is, “God, save these United States and our Constitutional government!”

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.