Henry Van Dyke was one of the most popular and enduring writers of the 20th century. His sermons, poems, and short stories, such as The Story of the Other Wise Man (Paraclete, over 28,000 sold) were well-loved by children and adults alike. A new volume, The First Christmas Tree and Other Stories combines two books by Van Dyke, The First Christmas Tree and The Spirit of Christmas, in a keepsake edition for the whole family.
The First Christmas Tree and Other Stories features woodcut etchings, and comes in a hardcover, gift-sized format ideal for holiday gift-giving. Children, parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and lovers of classic literature will welcome this new edition of a beloved Christmas classic.
The First Christmas Tree, a tale of the origin of the first Christmas tree, was first written in 1897 and read aloud to Van Dyke's congregation at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Set in 722 A.D., the story tells of how Prince Gregor, "a young boy with the spirit of a man," and his hero, the daring Winfried of England, journey through treacherous land to reach the heathen people of the forest on Christmas eve. When they arrive, Winfried rescues the heathen from an unspeakable evil, destroys the great oak tree where they worshiped their false god, and points to a young fir tree, "the tree of the Christ-child," as the people's new sign of worship, symbolizing laughter, songs, and rites of love.
The Spirit of Christmas is comprised of stories and prayers including The Christmas Angel, a story of a child-angel who predicts the coming of Christ as a baby in Bethlehem, Christmas Giving and Christmas Living, a simple, charming message about how to give from the heart, and Christmas Prayers, with prayers for the home and for "lonely folks" at Christmas.