River Clegg: Welcome, reader, to the second installment of my Western Canon interview series, where I chat with some of civilization’s most important figures. Today we have a special holiday-themed interview, with a guest who needs no introduction.

Jesus Christ: Hi, great to be here.

RC: Thanks so much for coming.

JC: It’s no trouble, I’ve had some free time over the past couple thousand years.

RC: Oh, why is that?

JC: …

RC: Oh. Right. Um, so, Christmas isn’t far off. Happy almost-birthday!

JC: Don’t remind me. Do you know how hard it is to keep getting older, but with no retirement in sight?

RC: I’d never thought about it. Is your job busy?

JC: Not terribly. Every now and then someone prays for the Celtics to win or something, so I’ve got to make that happen.

RC: Don’t people also pray against things like hurricanes and diseases and war?

JC: Oh sure. But who can keep track? The Celtics — now that’s a simple prayer to answer.

RC: … I guess. So, have you gotten your Christmas shopping done?

JC: Some of it. I tell you, 12 apostles might not seem like that many, but when you’ve got to find that perfect gift for each one of them … it can get tough. And don’t get me started on shopping for Mary Magdalene.

RC: Sounds rough.

JC: Then there’s the whole Hanukkah thing. Some of them still celebrate that, you know. So I’ve got to space the gifts out and plan that whole eight-day schedule. It’s confusing. Really it’s work an intern should be doing. But the Pope’s always busy.

RC: I see. And are all the apostles on your list? Even Judas?

JC: Oh, Judas! He and I are pals. You guys really gave him a bad rap. If I had to die to redeem your sins, how do you turn around and hate the person who made it happen?

RC: I’d never thought about it like that.

JC: We’ve had some good laughs over it. At least I think he was laughing…

RC: Well —

JC: Tears can be tears of laughter, right?

RC: … So. I’m wondering what you think of the commercialization of Christmas. It seems like it’s all just about shopping and money nowadays.

JC: I guess. People sometimes get worked up over it, but I try to let it slide. Truth is, no one knows what Christmas is really about. I think it’s got something to do with a pagan or Druid ritual — or maybe about the solstice? What is a solstice, anyway? Nobody ever filled me in. You know I wasn’t even born in the winter?

RC: Really?

JC: Yeah. It was July 8. I remember because one of the wise men was shvitzing like crazy.

RC: Huh.

JC: Hey, this is fun. Do you have any more questions?

RC: Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

JC: “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” hands down.

RC: Favorite Christmas memory?

JC: When Dad got me that water-into-wine magic kit. Boy, was that fun.

RC: What’s the best part of being in Heaven?

JC: That’s a tough one. Maybe getting to meet Marilyn Monroe. You’d never guess it, but she’s so nice and down-to-earth, and she never acts stuck up or snooty, even though she’s so beautiful and famous. One time she even signed my copy of “Some Like it Hot.” I was just … just, wow! Really a class act, that girl.

RC: …

JC: Marilyn Monroe is the best part of being dead.

RC: Well we’re just about out of time. Do you have any other plans back here on earth?

JC: I might do a book signing.

RC: Oh yeah, signing Bibles?

JC: No, I’ve been doing some other writing, mostly under pen names. Remember The Da Vinci Code?

RC: Yes?

JC: All me.