I was laying in bed last night, and couldn't sleep, (which is becoming a normal thing these days!) It was just past 2am, and I started thinking about Christmas and my memories of Christmas. And I'd like to share one with you today. It's not one I talk about often, but it is probably the one that has had the most impact on my life.
I can't even remember how old I was. I was just past the age of believing in Santa Claus. I don't think I knew it at the time, but my family had several times when I was growing up that we did not have a lot of money. My parents are wonderful and as a child, I never saw that stress in them, but looking back now I can see the signs. This particular Christmas must have been especially hard. I don't remember the details, but an anonymous person had given my parents a money order for $1.000. I really think without that gift, we probably wouldn't have had a Christmas that year.
One day I was with my mom in the car - it's funny the things the mind remembers. I remember we were driving through the parking lot of Safeway - and my mom asked me if I believed in Santa Claus. I was a little embarrassed, because I didn't want to admit to her that I knew the "secret", so I sheepishly told her that I knew that Santa wasn't real. I don't remember the exact words she spoke at that time, but I will never forget the feeling or the look on her face, as she turned to me with tears in her eyes and told me that yes - Santa Claus does exist. He exists in people, like this anonymous person, who bring happiness and joy into the lives of others. There are lots of Santa Clauses out there, and they are a big part of Christmas.
As I was remembering this moment in my life in the early hours of Christmas this morning, a huge sense of gratitude came over me for that person. Here it is - probably 20 years later, and I still think of this person every Christmas. I'm sure they haven't thought about it since that Christmas, but it has really affected me and how I view Santa Claus. I wish I knew who it was so they would know how their one act of kindness affected someone forever.
Into my mind this morning popped the phrase that is repeated often, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." I looked it up online this morning, and realized I had never read the whole letter before, or maybe I just didn't remember it - so I thought I'd post it here. The middle part is especially meaningful.
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?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except 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, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
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.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and remember the reason for the season!!