Update: I sent this letter to the Kalamazoo Gazette and received a phone call from them yesterday (12/5/05). They plan on printing it at a date closer to Christmas. Pretty neat! In 1897 Francis P. Church, the editor of the New York Sun received the following letter from 8 year-old Virginia Oâ€™Hanlon â€“
"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?" â€”Virginia O'Hanlon
His response to her letter has become a classic and people seem to read it every Christmas.
If people insist on referring to Christmas as a â€œholidayâ€, newspaper editors across the country might some day be receiving letters such as the following â€“
â€œDear Editor: I am 8 years old. Some of my friends say there is no Christmas and that Jesus does not exist. They say that Christmas is merely a holiday and should be referred to as such. We donâ€™t have Christmas parties at school anymore. We just have a holiday party. They donâ€™t put up a Christmas tree at the local town square â€“ it is a holiday tree. Santa Claus can come to town, but we canâ€™t have a Nativity scene depicting the birth of Jesus on city property. Please tell me the truth. Is there really a Christmas because Jesus was born or is it just another holiday?â€ â€“ Virginia
If I were an editor this would be my response (based upon Francis P. Churchâ€™s response over 100 years ago) â€“
Your friends and others are wrong. They have been affected by the political correctness in this all too political correct time we live. They do not believe in that which they cannot see.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas. It exists today just as it did over 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born to save man from his sins. How bleak this world would be if there were no Christmas.
Joy and love would be merely temporary things felt for an instant only. Childlike faith would disappear and nothing would exist that would make life tolerable. There would be no hope for the future.
Not believe that we celebrate Christmas because of Jesus?!? You might as well not believe in the wind. You cannot see the wind, but you can see the effects of the wind and know that it exists. No one can imagine all of the joys in this world that are concealed to our eyes.
Only our faith and the love that God showed us by sending his Son to us on that lonely night in a stable so long ago can open manâ€™s eyes to the fact that Jesus is the reason for the season of Christmas.
No Christmas? Thank God that he gave us the very first Christmas gift of Jesus Christ and know that He lives forever. Tens of thousands of years from now Christmas will still exist because Jesus still lives.
Merry Christmas and God Bless!