Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of 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 [grown-ups] or children’s are little.
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! The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor [grown-ups] can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there.
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 [grown-up]…that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view…the beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else so 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.
Francis P. Church had no intention of composing a classic essay in inspirational literature that September afternoon in 1897 when he sat down to answer a little girl’s query. Virginia O’Hanlon was eight years old, precisely by age when skepticism starts to erode faith. Her friends had told her there was no Santa Claus. When she went to her father for the truth, he was as tongue-tied as many parents ware when conversations start to focus on the veracity of North Pole activities. He told her to take her questions to the experts on everything: the editors of the newspaper. So Virginia took pen in hand and posed the eternal question of childhood to her local paper: “Papa says, ‘If you see it in the Sun it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
Nearly a hundred Christmases have come and gone since Virginia asked for the truth, but what’s real and what’s not hasn’t changed. Children of all ages have a deep desire to believe in a great, benevolent, and generous gift giver who rewards the good. Christmas allows the child slumbering in each of our souls the chance to be reborn every year, awakening a sense of joy and wonder that even eleven months of doubt, derision, or discouragement can’t snuff out. All that’s required of us is that we believe.
Believe in what? Believe in whatever means the most to you at this moment. That Love makes it possible to believe in all things, especially miracles. That this is the season of miracles. That there’s a miracle with your name on it. That when you wish upon a star, grace steps in to bridge the gaps until your dreams come true. That there is a Santa Claus and you have been very, very good this year.
Have you written your letter yet? Yes, I do mean you. If you haven’t, do it today with great ceremony. Sit down with a cup of hot cocoa, your best stationery, and your wish list. Pick one worldly gift and tell Santa what you want. Now pick one gift that only Spirit can give. Put your letter in an envelope and send it off. Wait. Watch what happens. Be happy.
For the rest of the season, frequently declare (under your breath is okay) during your daily round: “I believe! I believe! I believe!”
Right now I’m going to believe that Frank Church wrote today’s mediation for me, as well as Virginia, a century ago.