Yes Virginia, Santa Claus is Coming Tonight

This is a story told to one little princess who lives near Dallas, Texas. Her own story has still to be told, but we can see her story in the lives of other princesses. In 1997, the world lost the only person who could be called "Princess of the World," when Diana the Princess of Wales was taken to the stars in the heavens through a tunnel in the City of Lights called Paris, France. Although we were all saddened by the loss of her physical body, we gained far more by the ascension of her heavenly spirit. For eternity, Diana will be known as the Princess of the World, and every night when the stars come out, we can look to see if Princess Diana is coming again.

The birth of the legend of Princess Diana reminds us of the birth of a legend back a hundred years ago in the story of Virginia O'Hanlon, an eight year old princess that wrote a letter to The New York Sun in 1897. The Sun responded with an essay that has become a legend. Here is the introduction to that editorial, "Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus," by Francis P. Church on, September 21 1897:

Dear Editor : I am 8 years old. Some of my 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.

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.

It has been a full century since Virginia O'Hanlon inquired about the existence of Santa Claus. She is now a legend. On the centennial anniversary of the editorial response that was heard around the world, we have seen a real princess rise to the stars. Is there a connection between Virginia, O'Hanlon and the Princess of Wales? Did they both wonder about the spirit of giving? Did Diana fulfill the role of Santa Claus to many needy children? In the spirit of the editorial Francis P. Church wrote, it is clear that Diana was a living Santa Claus, and a spiritual descendent of Virginia O'Hanlon. Princess, you have a lot in common with Virginia and Diana. This telling of the travels of Santa Claus is for your tomorrows, because one day there will be a princess in your life, who will see you as her own Santa Claus

When Church wrote his response to Virginia, the possibility of communicating the complete story of Santa Claus was restricted by the medium which he had to use, a newspaper. Today we live in an electronic world, where direct communication between any two people in the world is a possibility. With the advent of microcomputers and global communication networks, the new medium of the Internet, and the World Wide Web, we have the opportunity to answer Virginia's question in sufficient detail that every parent or child who chooses can come to know, Yes Virginia, Santa Claus is Coming Tonight. We do not want to take away from the importance of the legend which Virginia O'Hanlon has become, for Church spoke to the heart of all children, regardless of age. The full text of The New York Sun editorial can be found in many places on the Internet by searching for Yes Virginia. It is the intent of the present essay to identify the sources of the story of Santa Claus, and the spirit of giving which he, Virginia O'Hanlon, Francis P. Church, and Princess Diana, represent so well. As such, this essay will be directed toward all the up and coming children who will be a Santa Claus or a Princess Diana in the future.

The retelling of the story in its full detail is long over due. But for now, let us just focus on one little princess in Texas, who wonders, if there is a Santa Claus. She lives with her mother, in a small house which is in great need of repair. Her mother has trouble keeping a job and making payments. But for now, the little princess has a computer and can talk to a world she cannot see through the Internet. She cannot afford a printer, so we cannot send her a message that she can print. But she has something that many of us who live farther north do not have. She has the stars of Texas upon her. We will show the exact route followed by Santa Claus down a chimney to the Earth every year, and indeed every night through the stars that shine on Texas during the Christmas season. So princess when you read this story, recognize that you are one in a billion, and every star in heaven is calling to you to look up, her comes Santa Claus.

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© Copyright 1997, SU International, all rights reserved.
Edited November 14, 1997