Maxed Out 

Happy Birthday, dude!

By G.D. Maxwell

And so it came to pass, as it does around this time every year, that the days were completed to deliver a Christmas column. I guess this is it.

When William the Wise proposed the Max the Wise Guy a Dialogue Café on the subject Christmas: Universal Story or Marginal Myth , the Summer of Fires was still upon us. Undaunted and often insensate, any project with a three month deadline seems like a good idea at the time. That was then; this is now.

The first rule of writing is this: Write what you know. If I put any faith in that rule, I'd have quit this job after the first dozen weeks.

The first rule of being a columnist is this: Being completely unqualified to offer an opinion on a subject is an insufficient reason to forego offering an opinion on said subject. Ich bein ein Kolumnist!

And the first rule of succeeding in either academics or politics is this: Not understanding a question is no reason to keep from answering it if you can restate it as a question you know the answer to.

Finally, the first rule of replacing a question you can't answer with a question you can is this: The fuzzier the better.

So for those of you who thought skipping my feeble attempt to explain the meaning of Christmas Thursday night at the Chateau would spare you my thoughts on the subject, guess again. For those of you who think this is just a transparent attempt to weasel out of writing a Christmas column by using my Dialogue Café presentation on the Meaning of Christmas as a cheap two-fer, you've been paying way to much attention.

Act I: Happy Birthday Jesus

As any fool will tell you, Christmas is all about celebrating the birth of Jesus. If Away In a Manger and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem isn't enough to convince you of this simple fact, the word alone should suffice.

Christ·mas : December 25 th , widely celebrated as the birth of Jesus. From the Latin (Christ) being the nickname Jesus was given by his close friends + (Mass) being an almost incomprehensible Roman Catholic Eucharistic liturgy intoned in a dead language and designed to offer children their first real glimpse of eternity.

Still, doubts linger in an increasingly secular society. A recent poll conducted by USA Today found the birth of Jesus was mentioned by fewer people as the "True meaning of Christmas" than was, in order, getting presents, office parties, cookies and dropping a small fortune to decorate the house.

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