Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Yes, Virginia

Christmas Eve is almost here and this morning while trying to get things all prepared for the big holiday I came across this letter written by young Virginia O'Hanlon many years ago. It always amazes me that it's sentiment still holds true and I can remember hearing my father reading it to me for the very first time when I was a child. Ever since that first reading this letter gets read aloud every year on Christmas Eve.

May all of you have a wonderful Christmas that is filled with love and warm hearts and lots of smiles and hugs!

Please remember to say a prayer for our brave men and women in the military at home and abroad that will not be able to be with their families this Christmas.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We asked our students, at The Studio School, NYC, to consider both Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to The New York Sun and Francis Church’s response, and write their own answers to Virginia’s question.
Here are some of their essays.

Dear Virginia,

In this day and age it is very difficult to know what to believe in. If everyone is
telling you that there is no Santa Claus, you may feel pressured to agree with them.
Virginia, don’t go along with everyone else. Have your own opinions and beliefs! I
believe that there is a Santa Claus, not because someone has told me to, but because
I am a believer in things unseen. I believe in Santa Claus and mythical creatures and
I am not ashamed of that. If you only believe what you see, then you are missing a
whole world out there full of wonderful mystical mysteries. Believing is seeing and
using your imagination. Whether it is looking up at the sky and seeing a new shape
in the clouds or taking an empty space in your mind and seeing a close friend, even
Santa Claus.
Never stop believing in Santa Claus, Virginia, because if you do you will stop seeing
the magic in this world. Grown-ups have become skeptical and are missing all of the
wonderful unseen things in this world. Virginia, there is a Santa Claus - I see him in my
mind and believe in him in my heart.
Much love from your BIG friend,
Leila, age 13

Francis Church is saying that belief is something we all have, but that some of us
may not use it. In the part that he says, “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?” he is saying that some
children need to see, feel, or hear something to believe it’s there. I don’t. Mr. Church
means that Santa is not flesh, bones and blood, or the guy in a red suit. He is joy,
giving, love, peace and happiness.
To me, joy is feeling wind in my face; to me, giving is when I am given respect by an
other person or giving respect to someone else; to me love is being heard and cared
for; to me peace is being free to move and breathe; and to me happiness is being
close to someone and being able to love them. I hope Santa and Christmas live on
forever in the hearts of many people.
I think this editorial is important to people of all ages because it speaks of love,
poetry and hope as being stronger than any man alive.
Lucia, age 9

Dear Virginia,
I too believe in Santa Claus. Although I am at an age where most adolescents
start to become skeptical, I have avoided this as much as I can, and to me Santa
Claus is real.
What makes me believe in Santa Claus are the feelings of confidence and faith
that he gives me. I have confidence in my future, and faith in my abilities. Through
my laughter, joy, and belief in the unseen, he is real to me. That is what Mr. Church
is trying to convey, not only to you but to everyone of all ages. What would we all
do if there were no Santa Claus? He is a beacon that guides us to our bliss and
laughter at Christmas time.
Believe in things you can’t see. It’s great! It puts our imaginations to work,
it leads to discoveries, and most importantly, it may lead to jubilant thoughts!
The editorial response you received from Mr. Church is important because he
wants us all to know that belief plays a big role in our lives and that by believing
we all can be united as one.
So remember, Virginia, seeing isn’t always believing, but as long as your
feelings are passionate, your beliefs are real.
Neyanel, age 12