||[Dec. 25th, 2003|09:35 pm]
I heard both of the following stories on the radio tonight and I thought I would share them. One is famous, the other I heard for the first time a few hours ago, but still had no trouble finding a copy of it on the internet.|
from the The (New York) Sun:
Is There a Santa Claus?
"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?
"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 [what] 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 eternal 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 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 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 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 he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
A Soldier's Christmas
'Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see just who, in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one room home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States Soldier.
Was the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many live alone,
On a cold Christmas eve, in a land far from home.
That very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice."
"I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my God, my Country, my Force"
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still,
And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.
Then the soldier rolled over,
and with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered "Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas day . . . and all is secure."
One look at my watch,
and I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas, my friend . . .
and to all a good night."