This story dates back to 1897 when an eight-year old girl named Virginia O’Hanlon asked her father whether Santa Claus really existed. He suggested she write to The New York Sun because “ … if you see it in the Sun, it’s so.” One of the paper’s editors, Francis Church answered her question and addressed the philosophical issues behind it, which became one of the most famous responses ever to appear in newspapers – Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. This is my own updated version of it.
Dear Mr. Gervase: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Grinch. Papa says: “If you see it on Jerry’s Website, it is so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Grinch?
(signed) Little Virginia.
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They are affected by the faith and conviction of some radical neo-con extremists who still think Xmas has something to do with God coming to earth. These narrow-minded church-based fundamentalists cannot contend with the concept that man is the center of the universe.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Grinch. He exists as certainly as consumerism and devotion to getting what’s yours exist; and you know those two pursuits give our lives its highest beauty and joy. Alas, how dreary the world would be if there were no Grinch. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia’s or if there had been no Madelyn Murray O’Hair to protect you from the dangers of Bible reading. And how dreary life would be without the quiet acquiescence of Christians who look the other way when nativity sets cannot be displayed on municipal property, or when other atheists file lawsuits to protect you and me from being afflicted with religion.
You might get your Papa to hire men to watch for the Grinch’s appearance, but even if they never saw him what would that prove? The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see a politician’s slush fund, or a movie producer’s heart? Have you ever seen Frosty, or Rudolph, or have you ever seen a child’s lost innocence? Of course not, but that’s no proof they are not real. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the malevolence that is seen and unseen in all the world. Yet it is there!
No Grinch. Ah Virginia, in all our lives there is nothing more abiding than the Grinch. A thousand years from now, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to be popular with everyone whose hearts are two sizes too small.
You see Virginia, as long as people of faith hide their lights under bushels and buy into the commercialism of the season; as long as families become fragmented and the continued assault on our strongest traditions gains momentum; as long as people don’t practice and share faith, hope, and charity these ideals will be swept away by secular humanism; and as long as we worship at the altar of hedonism – there will always be a Grinch who will “… growl with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming … and who will find a way to keep Christmas from coming.”
Now you run along, little Virginia. Happy Winter Solstice to you, and don’t forget to have your Papa max out his VISA card.