In 1897, a little girl named Virginia wrote to the The Sun, a New York City newspaper, to ask if Santa Claus is real. The editor’s response to her has since become famous. As a new parent, I (like many other parents) wonder what I would tell my own child who asks a question like that. What follows is the letter I would write in reply.
Yes, my dear child, there is a man something like you have heard about in stories and seen in movies. I can assure you he is real. In fact, the real man is much better than you might imagine. Let me tell you about this person we all like to talk about at Christmas time.
People around the world ask him for the things they want. We eagerly anticipate his coming, expecting him to bring everything we’re waiting for. But, he doesn’t grant every wish. He knows that some gifts are not good for us (James 4:3). We would have wished for something different if we knew everything (even the future) like he does. Besides, the gifts he brings are usually far greater than anything we can imagine.
Many people – especially your parents, family, and friends – will wrap presents in boxes in hopes that those things will bring each other joy. They might, but this feeling goes away after a short while. This man I know makes gifts that cannot be put in a box under a tree, decorated with pretty paper and bows. They are gifts of love, joy, peace, and life. These are the ones that last forever.
We wait all year for our gifts, but we don’t have to! He can answer our requests any time he chooses. He doesn’t have to ride a reindeer-driven sleigh around the world in one night because he is always everywhere, all at once. He does not need a magic bag or little elves to work year-round, either; he can create anything in an instant just by speaking. You do not have to go to the mall and sit on his lap to talk to him. You only need to get on your knees and pray.
He does know if you have been naughty or nice because he knows everything about us, even how many hairs we have on our head! He keeps a list (Rev 3:5), but he doesn’t use it to keep track of who should or shouldn’t get presents this year. He is gracious enough to give precious things even to those who have done something wrong in the past.
You may have seen pictures showing Santa as a very large white-haired man in red with a round belly like a “bowl full of jelly.” Well, the man I’m telling you about is very large, indeed. He is so huge that even the whole universe is not big enough to hold him! I can also tell you with some certainty that he does have white hair (Rev 1:14) and a beard (Isaiah 50:6).
Yes, dear little one, there is a man like this and so much more … but I must tell you his name is not Santa Claus. Others may think I am silly or strange for describing something different than what they believe. Do not worry about that. The person I know is far more real, more powerful, more loving, and more generous than Santa could ever hope to be. He is more than just a man. He is God in the flesh. His name is Jesus Christ.