Yes, Virginia…


Redaksi harian Sun, New York, terhenyak. Surat di atas berbunyi:

Redaksi yth,
Usia saya delapan tahun. Teman-teman bilang Santa Claus itu tidak ada. Papa bilang ada kalau di koran The Sun ada. Tolong katakan sejujurnya, apakah Santa Claus itu ada?

Virginia O’Hanlon.
115 West Ninety-fifth Street.

Sang redaktur, Francis Pharcellus Church, pun terinspirasi dan menjawab dalam bentuk editorial, dimuat esoknya, 21 September 1897 :
“Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus…”

Inilah editorial yang paling sering dicetak ulang sepanjang seratus sepuluh tahun ini. Ia muncul dalam berbagai bahasa —sepotong mau pun utuh— dalam editorial lain mau pun dalam berbagai jenis media: buku, poster, perangko, lagu, sandiwara, film…

Sementara Virginia O’Hanlon sendiri tumbuh dan besar di Greenwich Village di Manhattan, New Tork. Ia berkarir dalam dunia pendidikan selama 47 tahun, mengajar dan menjadi kepala sekolah.
Virginia wafat pada 13 Mei 1971 di usia 81 tahun. Di sepanjang hidupnya selalu saja ada yang bertanya, masihkah ia percaya akan keberadaan Santa Claus.

Teks asli edtorial tersohor itu:

We take pleasure in answering at once and 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:

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 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 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 life 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 unseeable 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 supernatural 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.


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