Hi everyone, I decided to take a break this week to visit with Santa and check on my status. The good news is I made it to the nice list but just barely and then I sat on his lap; now it’s a toss-up. I guess I will have to wait and see. I’m going to have to be very careful the next several days! So, I’ve given Helene the pen this week to share this message, an important reminder to us all and something I strive for.
A few weeks ago, I was sitting in a long line of traffic watching cars refusing to let others merge in and wondering why. It reminded me of the New York Sun Editorial published in 1897 titled, “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus”. In case you haven’t heard the story, 8-year-old Virginia Hanlon was troubled by her friend’s claims that Santa did not exist. At the suggestion of her father, she posed the question to Francis Pharcellus Church, the then editor of the “Sun”. As her father said, “if you see it in the ‘Sun,’ it is so.” When you think about it, nice play on Papa’s part as it is a sticky question!
Francis had a problem: it was now in his hands to handle this child’s question and he did so perfectly. In part he said, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist and you know that they abound to give your life its highest beauty and joy.” He went on to say, “Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children or men can see.”. Nice, right? You can read the entire editorial @ “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” | Newseum.
Francis implied that “love, generosity and devotion” are associated with Santa and the season. I have to wonder why Virginia didn’t ask the follow up question — why is love, generosity and devotion more predominantly felt during the holiday season? Why not year-round? I have to hope she didn’t ask because she didn’t have to. Perhaps times were different then and the world a more caring place. Perhaps people were not as caught up with daily pressures to get ahead, to manage multiple commitments, to absorb the ever-present bad news thrown at us from all sources and for some, to simply survive. For Virginia’s sake, I hope that is the case. I think we would all agree today’s world is challenging for all ages and not always a nice place to be, although we each have the power to make it better.
As we go about our holiday activities, I’d like to suggest that we all consider carrying the feelings of goodwill, forgiveness, kindness, and love for each other that shine during the holidays throughout the upcoming year. Hold onto that holiday impulse that inspires you to compliment a stranger, to speak more gently, to be more patient, generous, and thoughtful as long as you can. If we all did just a little more of that a little longer into the new year, imagine what a wonderful world it would be.
And remember, kindness towards others will make you feel good, too. So, my 21st century answer to the follow up question Virginia should have asked in the 19th century? Yes ,Virginia, there is Santa Claus who lives in all of us, and we each have the power to use our Santa qualities throughout the year—if only we would.
Wishing you all the very best this holiday season and throughout the coming new year.
P.S. Even Santa works all year around. When not running around in his sleigh, he spends time at https://www.operationninereindeer.com. I hope you will check it out.
“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.” – Valentine Davies