A license for creativity.
Justin my youngest and most sentimental were at odds with the sparseness of choice in this year's Christmas tree. Tho' this 17ft. Noble fir graced the ceiling it's stretch left to much trunk space for Justin's liking's. He was moping around and saying, Mom, this just won't work. It's ugly. Our church family happily climbed ladders, hanging lights, draped metallic ribbons and hung snowflakes precisely with fishing line. This 17ft. footer, went through a transformation, from a Charlie Brown tree into a glorious platform for a giving season. Justin was reluctantly changing his mind.
Just when I thought the battle had turned my musician son, Jacob strolled into the great room, arms filled with his prized decor treasures and stuffed a white 1955 Oregon License plate in the best focal place between the branches. A Memory was born. We all rolled with laughter at the perfection that something so out of place could nestle into a great conversation piece. The joy finished the transformation.
Yesterday, I was placing that same license plate into my lush, flocked, perfectly "coiffed" Christmas tree and took a picture sharing it on facebook so my Marine son Joseph could enjoy the chuckle of the family from his station in North Carolina. In the comments, I said:
"Some of the most precious Christmas memories get birthed from the creative hand of your children. "Yes Virginia, the Wambach's have a 1955 license plate in their Christmas tree.
Right Jacob? "
My husband Don said: Who's Virgina? Another comment even mentioned that it was a Virginia license plate. A perfect set up for this Christmas blog post.
This is the story of Virginia
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:
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?
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.
credit: Francis Pharcellus Church
"Is There a Santa Claus?" reprinted from the September 21, 1897, number of The New York Sun.
Back to my blog: Does reason steal your Christmas Spirit? I can't help but raise the question into a spiritual light that Mr. Church so eloquently writes, has skepticism crept in and you now live in an age of reason?
Can we take a fresh look at the most reprinted article in newspaper history and get a new perspective? From the hand of an eight-year-old, we gracious ask ourselves that 120-year-old question,
Can you believe without seeing?
Love, generosity, and devotion seem to be the lens in which the unseen dwell. The writer's hand says: "and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy."
With addition: Can any of us conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.