EDITORIAL: Yes, there is a Christmas spirit

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the New York Sun’s editorial Is There a Santa Claus? The editorial, penned by Francis Pharcellus Church in 1917, contains the universally recognized line, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” and it has become the most reprinted editorial in the English language.

With that many reprints, we don’t need to give it another run here. However, the entire staff at the Parksville Qualicum Beach News would like to wish our readers and advertisers the best this holiday season, regardless of how you choose to celebrate.

Merry Christmas? Absolutely. But while it is named for the Christian holiday, this end-of-year celebration encompasses a community spirit that extends well beyond believers in the Christian faith.

The Jewish community just wrapped up Hanukkah, its eight-day Festival of Lights. On Dec. 26, African-American celebrants will begin their seven-day observation of Kwanzaa. Russian Orthodox worshipers and the Chinese observe their respective New Years on a different calendar.

And, of course, there’s a Festivus for the rest of us.

Regardless of the traditions and reasons for worship and celebration, the reasons they take place this time of year stem from the winter solstice, which pagans celebrated as a return of the sun following the shortest day of the year.

Plenty of bright lights are shining on Parksville Qualicum Beach right now. The Society of Organized Services is nearing the $100,000 mark in its 50th annual Caring for Community at Christmas campaign, which provides toys, food vouchers and other necessary items to families in need.

SOS has received direct and indirect contributions from numerous other organizations, individuals and businesses, and others give to the needy through their own initiatives, such as the Falkenberg family donations featured on page A13 of this edition.

Other organizations and, yes, churches have been hosting free, community dinners to bring together neighbours and those in need of a hot meal and companionship.

These examples of human compassion reflect what Jesus Christ taught in the New Testament. And they show that we’re all capable of following those teachings, whether or not we “believe” in the teacher.

— Parksville Qualicum Beach News