Santa and the true magic of Christmas

Some years ago I recall my sister-in-law, Deanna Bosse, telling me how heart-broken her grandson was when his parents explained to him that there really was no Father Christmas.

REASON FOR THE SEASON: Father Christmas symbolises something far deeper than just a holiday Picture: PIXABAY

Over the years at Christmas time, I periodically used this story in my column in The Rep which I think you will enjoy. It appeared in the New York Sun about 100 years ago and at the time, became the most widely read editorial ever written.

The “Father Christmas” editorial was in answer to the following letter.

“Dear Mr Editor, I am eight years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Please tell me the truth” by Virginia O’Hanlon.

The editorial writer assigned to reply to Virginia at first disdained the task as trivial and a waste of time, then found himself warming to a real opportunity and finally wrote the words that millions have since read.

“Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical 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 in intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth.

“Yes, Virginia, there is a Father Christmas. 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 the world be if there were no Father Christmas! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias.

“There would be no child-like 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 to believe in Father Christmas you might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your pappa to hire men to watch all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Father Christmas, but even they would not see Father Christmas coming down.

“But what would that prove? Nobody sees him, but that is no sign that there is no Father Christmas.

“The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle to see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest men, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.

“Only faith, fancy, poetry, love and romance can push aside that curtain and view the supernatural beauty beyond.

“Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Father Christmas? 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.”

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