Editor’s 1897 message of hope still stands the test of time


Francis B. Church, editor of the New York Sun in 1897, printed his re-ply to a little girl’s question, “Is there a Santa Claus?” And “Yes, Vir-gin-ia, there is a Santa Claus!” was born. 

It has gained literary immor-tali-ty because the message is as fresh and relevant today as it was 120 years ago when he wrote it.

For that reason we are reprinting his message on this page.

“In all this world,” wrote Church, “there is nothing else as real and abiding” as Christmas. 

Borrowing from the words of my Uncle Tom Warden, publisher emeritus, describing the article, “He was referring to a tradition of love and caring — the em-bodiment of Santa Claus — that em-braces the spirit of the occa-sion…a cel-e-bration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the one individual in the history of ci-vilization who has done more than any other to al-ter, guide and influence human affairs and conduct.”

Our resolve this year has been tested like never before with over 300,000 COVID-19 deaths just in the United States.

The coronavirus has affected us with more than the lives it took. It has cost some of our neighbors their jobs, increased depression and substance abuse across America. Businesses have been forced to close, spreading economic hardship.

Christmas, perhaps, could not ar-rive at a better time for it is here to focus our attention on the Christ-child, away from our troubles. It is his love that we need to acknowledge now more than ever.

Christmas is still an oc-ca-sion that unites the nation and so-lidifies and strengthens the bonds that have made America, despite shortcomings and occasional distractions, the most advanced nation in record-ed human history. 

We cannot forget that there are still those in our community who are hungry and homeless, without adequate medical care, and without decent jobs. 

Heart disease, cancer and other terrible afflictions menace our neighbors — young and old alike — and as a nation we must renew our dedication to finding cures the same way we created a vaccine for the pandemic.

There is still reason for hope.

The “Grinch” was unsuccessful in his attempt to steal Christmas in Dr. Seuss’ famous book. I think you will find that the coronavirus will also fail to keep Christmas away from our hearts.

In this week’s edition of The Unterrified Democrat you will find letters to Santa from area first, second and third-graders. Several weeks ago we contacted the teachers in the local schools to help us with this project.

During this holiday season take the time to read their requests to Santa. Of course some do more than ask for presents. They ask about the reindeer, thank Santa for previous presents and more. 

Be aware, we typed the letters exactly as they were given to us. This will give you a better appreciation for what Santa has to do when he reads children’s letters from all around the world.

In past Christmas editions we have seen children ask for nothing for themselves, instead making requests for their siblings or their parents. 

We have also taken calls from parents wanting to know what requests were made of Santa after their child refused to tell them what they had asked for in their letter.

This special Christmas edition also contains several pages of holiday photos our cameras have captured since Thanksgiving.

All this is made possible by the many businesses, individuals, churches and industries delivering you a Christmas message during this blessed season.

Please take some time to read their messages of hope and good cheer.

All of this good news reminds us that indeed we have ample reason to be thankful when we sit down for a Christmas meal and thank our Creator for the bounty we enjoy. 

Much re-mains to be done before we can lay claim to being a truly benevolent people. Still, we must hope and pray that the spirit of Christmas prepares each of us for the challenges of the coming year.

In spite of those cynics whose materialistic world denies such beliefs, there is indeed a Santa Claus…and it is in this realization that the staff of The  Unterrified Democrat  wishes you and your family a “Merry Christmas!”


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment