By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
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.
This is the second paragraph of the now famous editorial to eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. Virginia, wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, asking if Santa Claus was real. The response was an unsigned editorial of Sept. 21, 1897, the work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church. His editorial has since become an enduring part of American Christmas tradition and is history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.
For those of us who celebrate December 25 as the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ know that our belief in things not seen is greater than all that is in our present world. It is for us a season to remember and celebrate HIs gift and His sacrifice above all others.
It is a time to remember what is good about this life that now is and of that which is to come. Oh, how silly we must seem to those without faith, but it is faith that sets us free and faith that gives us hope.
Those of us who toil in the field of politics can easily become cynical, jaded and worst we can lose the belief in goodness. Daily, we see generosity turned to greed and kindness or devotion seen as the marks of fools. Power is reward and humility and service is scorned by far too many.
But it is not we who labor in public service, with humility and hope that are the losers but those who do not know that service before self is God’s Will no matter what our station.
Is the senator better than the man who collects the garbage? No, not in God’s eyes. Perhaps, if some of our politician esteemed the garbage collector greater than himself, policy would triumph over politics.
Faith in our values, faith in our citizens has been lost among the thorns and thistles of political life.
Recent stories that we have printed pointing out hypocrisy and deception by some of our state’s most powerful leaders. Rather than coming forward to admit their hypocrisy and deception they hide and cast stones at the messenger. I have even heard that had those legislature have questioned who I am working for. One day I hear I am working for the AEA, the next, for Milton McGregor, the following for Matrix. Why is it when someone dare tell the truth does he or she have to be working for someone?
Anyone who knows me at all, knows I work for no one. I am not a man bought by money or power. Wealth and the trappings of power have little interest to me except for what that might afford in giving more back to my family, church, community and state. Life for me is about what I can give in this life not what I can take. I lay my treasures up in a heavenly place, not here on earth. Yes, I am a capitalist, who works for money but money is to be used to do good not to simply feed the belly. It is a very foolish man who thinks that money will bring him satisfaction. The same is true of power.
When my wife and I first came to Montgomery people said we would need to choose a side, I thought for a moment and said we had. We came here with the people of Alabama in mind and it is their side that we are on.
With all of the corruption, with all the greed and deceit, I still see great women and men trying to make a difference. Good men and women come to Montgomery to serve, not the republican party, not the democrats, but the people. These are those who understand love and generosity. They are the men and women who devote their time to public service because it is right and good and noble.
I believe in Santa Claus because I believe in what is good about life. I see its beauty, I hear the voice of God saying this is the day the Lord has made be glad and rejoice in it.
To all of you who serve, I thank you for your gifts this season because it is a time we remember He who gave His all for us.