Does Santa Claus exist?
The following correspondence between Virginia O'Hanlon and Francis P. Church dates back to 1897 and was printed every year at Christmas time on the front page of the newspaper for more than half a century - until the "Sun" was discontinued in 1950.
The eight-year-old Virginia from New York ...
...wanted to know exactly. That's why she wrote a letter to the daily newspaper "Sun": I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says what is written in the "Sun" is always true. Please, tell me: Is there a Santa Claus?
The matter was so important to the editor-in-chief Francis Church that he replied himself - on the front page of the "Sun":
"Virginia, your little friends are not right. They believe only what they see; they believe that there cannot be what they cannot grasp with their little minds. All human spirit is small, whether it belongs to an adult or a child. In space he loses himself like a tiny insect.
Yes, Verginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as surely as love and generosity and faithfulness. Because all this exists, our life can be beautiful and cheerful. How dark the world would be if there were no Santa Claus! There would be no Virginia, no faith, no poetry - nothing that would make life bearable in the first place. A flickering remnant of visible beauty would remain. But the light of childhood that the world radiates should go out. There is a Santa Claus, otherwise you couldn't believe the fairy tales either.
Certainly, you could ask your dad to send people out on Christmas Eve to catch the Christmas man. And none of them would see the Christmas man - what would that prove? No one sees him just like that. That doesn't prove anything.
The most important things usually remain invisible. The elves, for example, when they dance on moon meadows. Nevertheless, they do exist. To think all the miracles - let alone see them - is not the smartest thing in the world. Whatever you see, you never see everything. You can break open a kaleidoscope and search for the most beautiful colour figures. You will find some colorful shards, nothing more. Why? Because there is a veil that covers the real world, a veil that not even the violence of the world can tear. Only faith and poetry and love can lift it. Then the beauty and glory behind it will be visible.
"Is that true?" You can ask. Virginia, nothing in the whole world is more true and nothing is more enduring.
Santa Claus lives and he will live forever. Even in ten times ten thousand years he will be there to fill children like you and every open heart with joy. Merry Christmas, Virginia".
Dein Francis Church