Open Unwrapped Dec 24th: Christmas Sermon from Robert Louis Stevenson

University of Edinburgh festive bauble gift by Pingked (Flickr) CC BY-NC

In ‘A Christmas Sermon’, a short public domain text available on Wikisource, Robert Louis Stevenson meditates on the holiday season, death, morality and man’s main task in life: “to be honest, to be kind… to make upon the whole a family happier for his presence.”

‘A Christmas Sermon’ appeared in a collection of essays entitled ‘Across the plains: with other Memories and Essays’ (1892) and was written, along with The Master of Ballantrae, while Stevenson was recovering from a lung ailment at Lake Saranac, New York, in the winter of 1887.

More openly-licensed Christmas texts can be found at Wikisource’s Portal:Christmas including Is There a Santa Claus? (1897).

Wikisource, the hyper library hosts over 340,000 out-of-copyright longer texts (plays, poems, short stories, novels, letters, speeches, constitutional documents, songs & more) as demonstrated by the range of texts on Robert Louis Stevenson’s page here.


Robert Louise Stephenson with Presents and Santa Hat

‘Christmas Robert Louis Stephenson’ adapted [addition of santa hat and presents] by Ewan McAndrew from Public Domain image found on Wikimedia Commons.


Ewan McAndrew

Wikimedian in Residence

University of Edinburgh