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12/25 Editorial: Believe: A word of hope for Christmas

By Frances Hubbard, fhubbard@tidewaterreview.com

10:59 AM EST, December 27, 2013

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As Christmas comes and goes for another year, most of us will celebrate blessings and look forward to the New Year. Others will feel the burden of hard times and sadness.

But amongst all the world's sometimes harshness and the troubling times we all experience at one point or another, I offer one word that can apply to so many aspects of our lives: Believe!

It may seem hard at times to believe. Our area has seen its fair share of tough times in 2013 - from a young life struggling with cancer to the tragic death of a young football player and a scary threat to one of our local schools. We've also watched two governing bodies battle over a tax dispute that will hopefully be settled once and for all in 2014.

But we have also seen kindness and hope throughout the community. People raising funds for disasters at home and around the globe. Record donations for organizations like Good Karma in King William. Cancer survivor and King William School Board member Bryan Major making his third walk at Relay for Life. And a new organization dedicated to bringing pride and "greatness" back to the students of King and Queen County.

This is just a snapshot of the things happening around our area but I have to believe goodness will always exist.

We should continue to carry the positives on into the New Year. Please continue to let us know of the good deeds happening so we can share the good news with the community.¿

And as a reminder this Christmas to keep believing the Tidewater Review would like to share with you an annual tradition; a reprint of the most read and meaningful newspaper editorials ever written.

In 1897, Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial on Sept. 21. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"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 [what] 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 useable 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.

Courtesy newsum.org