Henry van Dyke (1852-1933) was the son of a prominent Presbyterian minister who instilled in him as a child the ability to love and to find peace in nature. Henry studied theology and English literature at Princeton University before accepting a position as the pastor of the Brick Presbyterian Church of New York City in 1883. He gained wide popularity at this post for his energetic and compassionate style, and is particularly remembered for heading up a committee that in 1906 produced "The Book of Common Worship" of the Presbyterian Church. He produced over fifty books of stories, essays and verse, including several Christmas stories. "The Mansion" has been ranked next to Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as a "must-read" during the holiday season. It tells the story of John Weightman, a rich man who sees heaven in a dream and is dismayed to see only a small shanty prepared for him. Sympathy, self-sacrifice and compassion are the overlying themes of this entertaining, easy-to-read story.
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