The Free Press, Mankato, MN


December 24, 2013

Yes, Virginia there really is a Santa Claus

Why it matters: The spirit of Christmas can be found in many places


It lies in the hundreds of volunteers who in the cold of winter ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Hope lies with the hundreds of volunteers who support and work for the BackPack Food program, which distributes meals for hungry children in their weekend backpacks. It lies in the members of law enforcement community who give their time on a Saturday morning to go Christmas shopping with a child or family in need.

Hope exists in the hundreds of teachers every day who see a child needs extra help and they get that help for them, knowing, one day it will have made all the difference. Hope exists in the places where professionals work to heal to the mentally ill, the chemically dependent and all those who suffer illness. Hope exists in the places of worship where ministers work to restore faith.

Mr. Church told Virginia her friends “do not believe except they see.” It’s a premise that suggests all good must be proven with empirical evidence. It’s also a premise that would not get us far should we adopt it.

How can we prove a kind smile, a comforting word and wish of Merry Christmas does good? The answer cannot be found in a survey or an academic journal. Some truths are universally understood.

Experiencing an act of kindness leaves even the most cynical among us with a feeling of gratefulness. It’s a truth that can’t be seen, but we know it is there. It’s a Santa Claus belief.

So Church concluded: “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.

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