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Editorial: We believe

It’s become our tradition at this time of year to share one of the most iconic editorials ever written. It appeared for the first time in 1897 when Laura Virginia O’Hanlon sent the following letter to The (New York) Sun:

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?

Virginia O’Hanlon, 115 West 95th Street

The reply to Virginia’s letter was penned by Francis Pharcellus Church, one of The Sun’s editors who had been a correspondent during the Civil War. 

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 they 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 may 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, fancy, 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 he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

• • •

We also want to wish you a very happy holiday season and remind you that, for the next few weeks, West Newsmagazine will be on a year-end break – in print, that is. The physical copy of West Newsmagazine will be back in your mailboxes on Jan. 13. 

Of course, news never takes a break, so we encourage you to check in frequently at westnewsmagazine.com. 

As the year comes to a close, we want to thank you for sharing 2020 with us. It has been a challenging year for everyone around the globe, especially for restaurants and small businesses. Those businesses make up the bulk of our advertisers, and we are so very grateful that they have trusted us with their business in this unprecedented year. We are grateful, too, that each of you – our readers – have continued to support those businesses whenever possible. Together, we will see this pandemic through.  We believe there are brighter days ahead. 

As we move into 2021, one of our team will be missing. Syndicated columnist Dr. Walter E. Williams passed away on Dec. 2. 

In 2019, West Newsmagazine had the privilege of joining Lindenwood University’s Hammond Institute of Free Enterprise in sponsoring Dr. Williams’ participation in a H. F. Langenberg Memorial Speaker Series event and two meet-and-greet events. Those who had the honor of meeting him and attending his lecture discovered that Dr. Williams was not only a fierce defender of liberty, free markets and the Constitution but also an incisive and witty man. 

Dr. Williams cared deeply about America and its citizens. His insight and passion will be sorely missed. 

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