Another Faithful Failure:Robert Louis Stevenson’s Christmas Sermon

Ref: C3531836

This is a seasonal talk about the final major essay by Robert Louis Stevenson (regarded in the last quarter of the 19th century as one of the best essayists in English), an essay published in December, 1888, addressing the need to be kind and cheerful, not to judge others and to face bravely our own inevitable shortcomings. The talk provides background information about Stevenson and about his essays, and then focuses on “A Christmas Sermon”, summarising it and bringing it to life for people today. We are delivering this Christmas Lecture using Zoom. We will email, a few days before, the link to join the lecture with details of how to access Zoom if you should need it.

Course aim

This lecture introduces modern audiences to Stevenson as an essayist, and to bring to life his essay, "A Christmas Sermon", to stimulate thought and compassion for the Christmas season, and to encourage readers to sample more of Stevenson's work.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: and
  • This is a live lecture delivered by a subject specialist in an online webinar video learning platform. You will need to be able to access the internet on a device with speakers or earphones. There will be opportunities to take part in discussions and chats. If you’d like to know how to use Zoom please visit:
  • No skills or experience needed

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • know more about Robert Louis Stevenson's life and his career as an essayist
  • think further about the ethical issues of compassion, forgiveness and cheerfulness
  • be stimulated to read further in the works of Stevenson and other related writers

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit:
  • The lecture will be presented on Zoom

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • There will be a chance to ask questions after the talk, or on the Canvas site

What else do I need to know?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit:
  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • further reading in Stevenson and related writers

Download full course information sheet

Another Faithful Failure:Robert Louis Stevenson’s Christmas Sermon


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2020
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing