Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus....

(from Wikipedia): Is There a Santa Claus? was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897 edition of the New York Sun. The editorial, which included the famous reply "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus", has become an indelible part of popular Christmas lore in the United States and Canada.

In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon was asked by his eight-year-old daughter, Virginia, whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O'Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist.

Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to the New York Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." While he may have been passing the buck, he unwittingly gave one of the paper's editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it.

Church was a war correspondent during the American Civil War, a time which saw great suffering and a corresponding lack of hope and faith in much of society. Although the paper ran the editorial in the seventh place on the editorial page, below even an editorial on the newly invented "chainless bicycle," its message was very moving to many people who read it. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.


December 6th is the "feast day" of St. Nicholas, the forerunner to the modern day Santa Claus.... yes, Virginia, there IS/WAS such a person!

(from The Nicholas Center website): The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
St. Nicholas died on Dec. 6, AD 343. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day.

We were blessed to have St. Nicholas visit Christ Church, Delavan on Sunday, and have this saint of old tell the children and adults a little about his life. He even brought gifts for ALL!

Here is St. Nicholas with the acolytes and clergy before the service. (left to right: Jerry (my Dad), Fr. Bill, St. Nicholas (thanks Bruce!), Ian, Deacon Bill, and Steve.)

During the sermon time, Fr. Bill & St. Nicholas sharing with the children.

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