Quote of the Day - 25 December 2006

Merry Christmas.

"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, 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 of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists 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 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 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 man 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, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

--Francis Pharcellus Church

More like this

No, I am not a Scrooge or a Grinch, just a pragmatist. The holiday season is, for many, a reminder of tales of miracles, whether of the story of the birth of Christ as a savior, of Chanukah's menorah that was lit for eight days with only enough oil for a single day, Bodhi Day to honor the…
I was sent this link to an apologist defending Christianity against rationalist requests for evidence, and I was unimpressed — all he's got is repeated claims that the Bible says Jesus was lord of the universe, which is not a good argument. I can also point to the Lord of the Rings, which says…
In the Wichita Eagle, we get Santa Claus and the Establishment Clause: This time of year, every public school administrator has to know a simple fragment of Constitutional law. It has many implications in the school setting during the holiday season. "Jingle Bells" is OK. Christmas hymns with…
Physicist Lawrence Krauss wrote Nature's review of The God Delusion. The review itself is mixed: strong praise for parts of the book, exasperated criticism for others. But the following two paragraphs are what caught my eye: Dawkins the preacher is less seductive. And make no mistake: this book…

Thanks for this post, Mike. FYI, some years ago, in the black and white TV days, Perry Como had the then very elderly Virginia O'Hanlon on his Christmas special. I bet the film clip is out on the net somewhere.