Sunday, December 23, 2018

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!


Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

When Virginia Rose, our oldest granddaughter, spends the weekend with us recently, she overhears a segment on CBS' Sunday Morning, which MIL enjoys watching.  They are discussing that famous editorial when a very young Virginia O'Hanlon pens a letter to The Sun, at her father's advice, asking if Santa Claus is real.  Our Virginia is transfixed from the moment she hears her name!

Ironically, Virginia has recently posed questions to the adults in her life regarding the existence of Santa.  It probably starts when I don't take extra precautions to hide whatever Easter chocolates are left over from the holiday.  I not only stash these carelessly in our candy drawer for prying little eyes to see, but I also leave a basket of plastic eggshells I preserve from year to year in the downstairs toy closet.  Not good, Gammie!  Hey, once you figure out the Easter Bunny isn't the one hiding those eggs, it's a natural next step to count Santa out of the whole Christmas equation.

As adults, we know the real reasons for both seasons, yet we perpetuate the commercially generated lore so attractive to the young ones.  Our own inner child longs to keep the magic and mystery alive for them, but are we doing them a disservice in the long run?  Or in the spirit of Santa's generosity toward and love for all children, are we helping our kids more fully understand God's all-encompassing love for each and every one of us?

Below is the original Virginia inquiry, and an abbreviated version of the editor's (Francis Church - an atheist, according to Wikipedia) answer.

Dear Editor:
I am 8 years old.  Some of my 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 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.
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.

It confounds me that this atheist editor, Church, (and yes, there is classic irony there, too!) wrote such inspirational advice to young Virginia so many long years ago.  My inclination is to believe that this man spent his formative years immersed in the faith, yet the world and its temptations prevailed upon him.  Still, what he learned in childhood somehow remained in his heart.


  • Skepticism?  We walk by faith, not by sight.
  • Love, generosity, devotion?  Love the Lord your God with all you heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.
  • No Santa Claus?  No Virginias?  We are made in God's image.  Who are we that God should be mindful of us, yet He, the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, deems we are worthy.
  • Childlike faith?  Jesus declared that the little children come to Him to receive His blessing and comfort.
  • Poetry and romance?  Oh, the Bible is rife with it!  God is the master story-teller and weaver of words.
So after reading this, what do you think about Santa Claus?  Do you believe?  Can you help a young person transition from this dimension that mirrors Christ's love to embrace the real deal?

Honestly, I'm leaving the Santa Claus story up to Virginia's parents to tell when they are ready.  It's really not my place to do so.

But I'm praying that the spirit of giving and love at Christmas will ever be alive in Virginia's heart, and that it will continue to live in yours!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Amen!

18 comments:

  1. Oh, how I can identify with this! My parents never led me to believe in Santa Claus; and in turn, I did the same with Troy. They always made sure I knew that such-and-such came from so-and-so. We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, so the only nod to 'Santa' came from the contents of my stocking on Christmas morn. (Wink!)

    Merry Christmas, Martha!

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    1. That really was a great tradition your family had, Mevely, and it certainly allows Santa to have a place at Christmas, i.e. the stockings, but all other gifts coming from family. Now that I think about it this Christmas, it's the same at our house - only the stockings are from Santa.
      Love and blessings!

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  2. Dear Martha, this is a beautiful prayer from a grandma's trusting heart -->'But I'm praying that the spirit of giving and love at Christmas will ever be alive in Virginia's heart ...'

    Yes and amen ... praying with you for these very same graces in my grandchildrens' hearts.

    Merry Christmas to you, to yours, dear friend.

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    1. Oh, Linda, all of us grandmas pray for those things for our precious grandchildren like nobody else! We so long for the spirit of Christmas to linger in our hearts and the hearts of our loved ones long after the season has passed.
      Love and blessings, and Merry Christmas!

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  3. My mother always insisted that Santa was real, even when she was 80 years old! When my daughter was little we had to approach it in a different way--she was terrified of the idea of someone coming into the house at night. Didn't matter if it was Santa, the Easter bunny, or the tooth fairy. She was not having it. So we talked about the spirit of giving, the magic of love, the beauty of generosity. She was okay with that!

    My 30 year old autistic son still writes letters to Santa, but he has gotten more savvy with age. Now he includes a thank you note to Santa along with his list, praising Santa as the best toy maker ever and thanking him for getting everything on his list!

    Fun Christmas stories in your post with a deeper meaning. Wishing Virginia and all your family a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Thanks so much, Galen, for sharing your Santa stories here. "The spirit of giving, the magic of love, the beauty of generosity" - I can't think of a better way to explain the reason for Santa in the first place!
      Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmases!
      Love and blessings!

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  4. I still believe in the SPIRIT of Santa Claus and wish everyone did!! I miss the magic of little ones who believe and the joy of paper flying off gifts and squeals of delight and excitement! I say keep it alive as long as you can and then keep the spirit alive in our hearts forever more. Jesus is all we need!!

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    1. Amen, Terri, Jesus is all we need! Yes, tomorrow I'll be witness to lots of squeals of joy and paper flying everywhere. Do hope to get some photos if at all possible of the grands in the act of gift opening, but the little rascals move so fast, more than likely, the images will be blurred.
      And yes, let's keep the spirit of Christmas alive and well in our hearts.
      Love and blessings, and Merry Christmas!

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  5. The one thing that Santa and Jesus have in common is love. Santa, (based on a real person St Nicholas apparently) and Jesus were motivated by love. And that is one lesson worth passing on to our children.

    Thank you Martha for your wonderful posts this year. May you have a blessed Christmas filled with Joy Hope and Peace.

    God bless you and yours.

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    1. Indeed, Victor, love is the common element in both Santa and Jesus, and that's what we can pass on to our children and grandchildren. It's been a joy for me to read your posts, too, my friend, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of them in the new year.
      A Merry and Blessed Christmas to you!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. Martha, this is a lovely post. Since I'm not a parent, I have rather mixed thoughts about Santa. There's something innocent and sweet about it, as long as we know who the season is really about.

    As adults we have experienced those special blessings from "Santas" in our lives.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Martha!

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, as long as we are focused on the celebration of Jesus' birth, that is the main thing. And all of us have been blessed, at one time or another, by those caring "Santas" in our lives - those generous souls who reach out with love for us. May your Christmas be blessed!
      Love and blessings!

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  7. I'm in the same boat as you Martha. Leave it up to Braden's mom and dad to deal with it. I used to be really adamant against any mention of SC from me & Jo but never corrected the grandparents. We never hid the presents either. I would probably do things differently these days.

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    1. I hear you, Bill, loud and clear. It is up to the parents to decide how and when to tell their children about Santa and what to say. At any rate, hoping you all have a very Merry Christmas!
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Aw, what a sweet post! We have been without internet, so I am late in getting my Christmas greetings to my blog friends, but trust God blessed you and your family this Christmas, and may He bless you in the new year, too!

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    1. Oh, Cheryl, what a bummer having your internet go down! So glad to know you are back online, and hoping that your Christmas was joyful and blessed for you and yours. Ours was beautiful, and lots of memories will be cherished for years to come.
      May God bless you in the New Year, my friend!
      Love and blessings!

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