Crisis of Faith? Read What a Nurse Says

A friend wrote on Facebook that her son found out the truth about Santa Claus.  The post generated a few comments, my own included which I will share here.

MyLinhDear Laurie – please read this and maybe your son should too, the most reprinted editorial in history. It will touch your heart. (Column in full below and also at this link)

“Is There a Santa Claus?” reprinted from the September 21, 1897 issue of The New York Sun.

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The 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 Ninety Fifth Street

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 external 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.

—————–

Francis Pharcellus Church, an editorial writer for the New York Sun, wrote this iconic response to a letter about Santa in 1897.

Virginia O Hanlan & Francis Church

Virginia O’Hanlon & Francis Church

And 100+ years have passed since Francis Church wrote Virginia an answer to her question.  Like Saint Nick himself, if there was anything Church wrote that lasted, it was this letter about what is beautiful, true, and powerful; that it is those things which we cannot see that are most real and glorious.  Over 20 people commented on my friend’s post about Santa and many affirmed their belief, but one comment was particularly powerful.  Here is what a nurse shared.

Gina I just read the article from MyLinh [Yes, Virginia]. It’s amazing. I still believe. Maybe not the big fat jolly old guy sliding down my chimney, but I still believe and so should everyone else.

As a nurse for 26 years, married to a doctor, we are ingrained to believe in the scientific method of disease. Cancer doesn’t cure itself. Diabetes doesn’t go away on its own. However, every once in a while we see that case, where the teenager with the glioblastoma comes in and the scan is clear. Unbeknownst to lay people, the nurses and doctors will secretly look at each other, knowing that there is a greater force at work. We won’t talk about it.

We are trained in the belief that we need solid tangible evidence. We work based on science and statistics.

Call it God, call it Santa, call it the greater force of the universe, call it whatever you want, but I still believe and so should everyone else.

In healthcare we know there is a higher power.

Dec 23, 2014

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About the Author

Mylinh Shattan is a writer who has lived on three continents, served in the Army, worked in corporate America, and taught in college. She loves adventures, in the world and in the mind. Literature is relevant and learning is a lifelong pursuit, so you might as well have a bit of fun along the way.

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