Column: Yes Virginia, There is a God

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

By Elisabeth Altamirano-Smith | Community Columnist

As a child, I thoroughly enjoyed spending every Sunday afternoon going through the two-inch thick newspaper. One nostalgic article that has been reprinted several times is “Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” in which eight year-old Virginia O’Hanlon writes in to the newspaper asking if Santa is real, because “if you see it in the paper,” then it must be real. Most every year since then, I look the letter back up to re-read it because the sentiment written is the same sentiment I feel towards God.  People across the world are still asking, “Is there really a God?”

Virginia is hoping to see proof, but as the editor writes, “The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see.” Love is powerful and nearly impossible to describe or prove, especially when it is God’s love. One example of God’s power and existence happened during World War I during Christmas Eve. Many historians refer to the occurrence as “Silent Night,” in which all of the soldiers in the battlefield stopped fighting on Christmas Eve because they felt the love and power of God. Surrounded by their dead comrades on the ground, they ceased fire, and began to sing Christmas carols and played games together; visiting one another’s trenches. How can you describe such a powerful movement?

For millennia, people have searched for God and the evidence of his existence. People pray with rocks, beads and candles because they are looking for something to physically hold and feel spiritually connected to. One of the great miracles of God is that when you literally do not have anything to hold, have hit rock bottom, and are alone in desperate times with seemingly nothing, God is still there with you in abundance, waiting for you to ask for his help.

However, even in the midst of miracles, sin still thrives around the world. We are constantly surrounded by death and misery. It is in those dark times, when people question the existence of God, and pain feels immeasurable. Yet, it is the same pain that Jesus felt and endured as he died for us on the cross. It is a unique characteristic and blessing that such an almighty God can know the likeness and sufferings of his people, and can identify with all of us.

Virginia wanted to see proof, but as the editor Francis B. Church writes, “There is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only (faith) can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond.”

Is there a God? Ah Virginia, in all this world there is nothing more real and enduring.