Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas with the Wilsons

Cintra Wilson preaches the gospel on Christmas:

We are, to put it mildly, an ecumenical group. My mother, a jazz pianist who calls herself "The Duchess," was raised by Christian Scientists but now subscribes to a self-invented theology she calls "Ishta Devata," an unformed, New Age, quasi-Buddhist mysticism involving psychic visions from an inner network she calls "Channel 12." My father was raised by members of the Anthroposophical Society and is believed to be telekinetic. My aunt on my mother's side is a hardcore Scientologist, who until recently was exiled from Christmas for her tendency to hard-sell the guests on the divinity of L. Ron Hubbard. My sister, whose husband is Moroccan, recently converted to Islam. My mother complains bitterly that she's no longer allowed to call my sister during the five times a day she is praying toward
Mecca, which, considering how often Mom likes to phone, has inspired me to the revelation that Allah is most kind. I am a Santeria initiate, which means I endure jokes every year about sacrificing chickens. If I happen to be at the buffet table, I usually smile, grab the electric carving knife and walk toward the cat. But most of our extended family is Jewish, apart from my best friend Mark and his boyfriend, the Episcopal priest.

We all come together for Christmas under our one unifying conviction that Christmas is less a religious holiday than the one day a year we all start drinking before noon.

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