Santa Claus and God are almost eerily similar. In my mind, they are both Anglo-Saxon males who promise gifts or a reward if you are good. Christmas celebrates the birthday of God’s only son, Jesus, and the eve is when Santa operates. Many, men in particular, once believed in Santa Claus, then, reached a maturity that told them better, but, not long after that, became Santa Claus, and later in life, looked like him. So goes the joke, anyway.
To recover from that, let me advance the logic one step higher by taking minimal liberties with the response to the following customized exchange in 1893 initiated by Virginia O’Hanlon:
I am 8 years old. Some of my 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?
Say, in my exercise, I had Virginia asking, instead, whether there is a God. The adjusted (for God) reply from Francis Church, editorial writer for The New York Sun, could well have been:
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except that 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 God.
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 God! 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 God! You might as well not believe in Santa Claus. 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 God, but that is no sign that there is no God. 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 God? Thank Santa Claus 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.
The Dow Jones Industrials started the year with a major bang, up 156 to 10,584, with world markets also almost all increasing. Gold jumped $26/toz to $1122 and crude oil reached a 14-month high just below $82/barrel.