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Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

The Pilot Editorial

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Yes, Virginia...

A Pilot-Tribune Christmas Tradition

It was 1897 when little Virginia O'Hanlon wrote her famous query to the New York Sun. "Is there a Santa Claus?" The editor turned the letter over to Francis Pharcellus Church to answer. The result is a timeless piece of wisdom that applies as beautifully this holiday season as it did long ago. The Pilot has made a tradition of presenting the letter and its reply each Christmas, with our own best wishes that the holidays bring a childlike gladness to your heart.

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 O'Hanlon, 115 West 95th 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 to 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 surely 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 Virginia.

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 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, ten times ten thousand years from now,

he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.