Monday, December 24, 2012

Xtemass in Buddha land

You might like this so I thought I would share. Eternal Encouragement is a magazine filled with yes, encouragement exactly, and of course many other practical tips and advice on living an abundant Christian life, with a special reference to the Christmas season.

Click here to read your first issue. Go on, it's absolutely free.
There is no connection between the worship of idols and the use of Christmas trees.We should not be anxious about baseless arguments against Christmas decorations. Rather, we should be focused on the Christ of Christmas and giving all diligence to remembering the real reason for the season. ~ John Macarthur

Bangkok does not lack Christmas decors in December, especially around malls. You look around and for a moment you would think you're not in a Buddhist country. Last year as I went about my normal Christmas shopping, the sight around made me think 'oh, this is just like home.'

Of course this could mainly be about the commercial side of things. But when you're far from home without family nostalgia sets in and you are grateful you have at least familiar visuals during this most wonderful time of the year.

Like the many previous Christmases, I'm alone which is not something new anymore. What's new to me is finding how and why Xmas is spelled as such. And I'm putting a few points on this post from the ever helpful Wikipedia so I do not forget:
  • it's a common abbreviation, and Xtemass, a variant, is a handwriting abbreviation. I won't be using Xtemass in writing by hand. It's more effort and more time-consuming. See it's longer.
  • the 'mas' part is an Old English word for mass 
  • "the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".
  • "that the word Xmas stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas[3] by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas" is a common misconception
~ Photo ~

What history says about the use of "Xmas," I just love the ancient feel of these years:
ca. 1755 - publication year of Bernard Ward's History of St. Edmund's college, Old Hall which used "Xmas" in it's issue
ca. 1100 - the term was written as "Xp̄es mæsse" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 
1551 - an earlier version, "X'temmas" was found
- "Xmas" was found in a letter from George Woodward
1811 - Lord Byron used the term
1801 - Samuel Coleridge did too
1864 - Lewis Carroll's turn

From the not-so distant past:
1923 - America's Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. used the term in a letter. And "since at least the late 19th century, Wikipedia reports that "'Xmas' has been in use in various other English-language nations. Quotations with the word can be found in texts written in Canada, and the word has been used in Australia, and in the Caribbean."

Having served time at Bangkok U's gradschool (CommArts) where we did considerable theory, analysis and the usual paper work on Advertising, I would say Thailand may relate to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage statement that "modern use of the term is largely limited to advertisements, headlines and banners, where its conciseness is valued."

As a Christian I'm just glad it's Christmas. It's my favorite time of the year whether I'm alone or with someone like the year before.  No matter how Buddhist Thailand is, I'm grateful for what I see when I go out of my nook and see Miss Teapot, Miss Tutti Fruity and Miss Crookshanks all resplendent in their Christmas garb -

Times are changing indeed in the kingdom. December 2000 I had to be at work. Two years and a decade later, that is no longer the case and I can't tell you how happy and grateful I am for this reversal of fortune. Christmas it is! Buddha land transforms into Xtemass Wonderland!


  1. Lovely series of photos. The photo I thought was taken in one of the malls in the Philippines. ^_^ Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!


  2. Hi Hazel,

    Thanks for sharing your blue and your research. I'll still keep Christ in Christmas, though.

    Happy Blue Monday, and Merry Christmas!

  3. Great post and very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    Merry Christmas,

  4. Great series of shots! It is a good time now to be in Buddha land. :)

  5. Fantastic decorations. Merry Christmas

  6. thank you, thank you for reminding people that XMAS is not a recent invention, or a profane one

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  7. yup, it certainly looks like the malls in Manila.:p
    i usually write Xmas on Xmas cards--too lazy to write "Christmas".

    so Merry Xmas to you!

    X is for...

  8. Wonderful post and beautiful photography for X ^_^

    Happy Holidays ^_^

    (A Creative Harbor aka artmusedog and Carol ^_^)

  9. One of my Theology teachers used to shorten words such as Christian in Xtian, Christ into Xt, and so on. Now I know why, thank to you sis!


    Happy Holidays!
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  10. I hope your Xmas was eXcellent and peaceful.

    abcw team



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