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"To thee I turn, to thee I make my prayer, God of the open air." ~ Henry van Dyke

Mansion, Henry van Dyke

Prolific writer and preacher Henry Jackson van Dyke (18521933) was born on this day in Germantown, Pennsylvania. A life-long lover of philosophy and literature, he became a Presbyterian minister like his father.

"Joyful music leads us sunward; In the triumph song of life," he said.

With a passion for the outdoors, especially fly fishing, van Dyke celebrated the beauty and wonders of nature.

With sensitve observations on faith and life, he said, "A friend is what the heart needs all the time."

He followed up his first book The Reality of Religion (1884) with The Poetry of Tennyson (1889) and the Christmas story The Other Wise Man (1896). His poem Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee, written with what he called "trust and joy and hope," was set to Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars," he said. Inspirational writer Helen Keller called van Dyke "an architect of happiness."

A preacher of "politethics," van Dyke became a World War I diplomat, then chaplain, and advised Presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson.

Van Dyke wrote in The Upward Path: "There are a hundred touches of kindness that come to us every day to tell us that we are not orphans or outcasts upon the earth. Every trace of order, every gleam of beauty, every provision of bounty in the nature, world, is an evidence that it is God's house."

kindle biographyCelebrate God everywhere.