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?
115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET.
There’s something magical about this time of the year. The other night I was driving home and the almost-full moon was bright, the stars were shining, the snow glistened across the empty farm fields. And in the distance, houses lit with bright colors shone brightly. It was a simple, beautiful moment that can’t be captured on film.
It’s quiet, simple moments like that I adore. Sitting in the living room, the only light coming from the tree and a movie. And my utmost favorite of recent years: singing “Silent Night” by candlelight in church Christmas Eve during the quiet late-night hours that usher in the day that we celebrate. And on the best nights? There’s snow to greet us as we make our way back home. It’s such a stark contrast to that same hour, that same moment, a week later. It’s quiet and still and magical and wonderful.
And it truly is that, wonderful. It is full of wonder. It’s those moments, the quiet, simple beauty of the season, that I forget every thing that’s troubling me- jobs and money and relationships and all of those adult things- and I remember what it’s like to be a child. Being a child at Christmas is the best. It’s the season MADE for child-like wonder, with Santa and reindeer and elves and snow and lights and trees and presents and family and LOVE. And when you’re a kid, that’s all you’re thinking about. This amazing, wonderful world…a world designed for imagination and wonder and the simple beauty and joy.
The “Yes, Virginia” editorial, printed in New York’s The Sun in 1897, captures this feeling that I love so much. I didn’t realize it until I was watching the CBS special the other night. It was the first time I’ve ever hear the letter read out loud. And even though Miracle on 34th Street has a similar feeling and has long been my favorite Christmas movie, the words resonated with me in a new way. It may be because I’m stuck in this limbo between childhood and adulthood. My childhood was filled with imagination and wonders. I sometimes feel like I’ve lost it. Until Christmas. It restores those feelings. And I’ve decided now, more then ever I need to make sure that I don’t lose it and become “affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age.” Because I’ve been closer than ever this year, and this season, this magical time, has helped me center myself again.
Thank goodness for Santa and Christmas and this restorative season. Francis Church had it right:
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. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.