Some of you may have read or seen the somewhat-recently popularized newsstory of young Virginia O’Hanlon. There’s a movie and book that came out not too long ago documenting the story in an endearingly artistic way. As I’ve mentioned before, the 2009 movie Yes, Virginia is the story of a young girl questioning the existence of Santa Claus. As a pragmatic young lady, Virginia wrote a letter to the New York Sun and the ensuing response has been a legacy for Christmas ever since. Check it out! This is a copy of what has, apparently, become the most re-printed newspaper article of all time.
What I really like about the story of young 8-year-old Virginia is the idea that, by simply setting a few lines of type for an editorial, Francis P. (Pharcellus!) Church, the journalist who wrote the response, shared a brightness and positivity that I wish there was more of in the media today.
I stumbled upon a blogpost recently from a site called The Dignified Devil and I loved the way the author, Gregory Smith, describes Francis Church’s response to Virginia. “His example stands against the cynicism of every era, a caution against the magnetic pull of strict logic and constant serious-mindedness . . .”
If you hadn’t heard this story, I hope you find it as sweet and heartening as I did. Although I never believed in Santa as a kid (or as an adult, for that matter!), there is something beautiful in an established Army journalist and serious newspaper editor taking time and ink to perpetuate the magic and beauty that is so often lost as childhood becomes adulthood. Remember that “The most real things in the world that neither children nor men can see . . . Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.“