In a recent discussion with Centuri0n (the wise Turk), he noted with apparent surprise my curious insistence, as a Puritan, that Christmas is a vestige of Catholicism, and is primarily objectionable for that reason, not for its more ancient connection with paganism.
Let's be clear about one thing: just because one celebrates the birth of Christ does not make one a crypto-Catholic, and Centuri0n has the honor of having his photo posted in a popular Catholic apologist's "Anti-Catholics" web page. Indeed, the Bible gives us the freedom, individually, to celebrate holy days according to our choosing.
Furthermore, let's be clear that giving gifts, spending time with family, eating figgy pudding and honey-glazed ham, and drinking spiced cider, eggnog, or (if your conscience permits) a little brandy, is perfectly fine - whether the occasion is the birthday of Her Majesty, Elizabeth II (may God save the Queen!), Independence Day, Bastille Day, International Women's Day, or a day you have set aside to remember Christ's incarnation. Those things are not religious activities. For most folks, even etymologically questionable things like mistletoe and a conifer have lost their original druidic connotation, and are essentially just winter seasonal decorations. Bereft of original pagan significance, these two can be enjoyed as God's gifts.
But Christmas was a Catholic holiday. While misguided modern evangelicals are busy trying to put the "Christ" back in "Christmas," they are joined in that task by Catholics who are anxious to put not only the "Christ" back in, but the "mass" back in as well. Why? Because it was their holiday first.
One perfectly acceptable reason for an evangelical not to celebrate the Birth of Christ on December 25 each year is to say to the world: "My religion is not Catholicism. I do not honor their holy days, and I do not follow their traditions. The Scripture alone is my rule of faith and life."
Now, I realize there is a counter-argument that we can Evangelical-ize Christmas, just as Catholics Christianized Christmas away from the pagans in the first place. I hate to be a sourpuss on this, but It's not going to work. Too many false gospels with their false Christs are willing to be a part of almost every American child's favorite holiday, and Catholicism is right there, leading the way, and pointing out that they came up with the idea of celebrating a mass to honor Christ's birth.
Furthermore, in order to outnumber those who make Christmas a holy day of obligation, we'd practically have to make it obligatory on the people of our churches as well. Doing so would violate God's law by unlawfully binding the consciences of men to a human invention.
Sorry, Centuri0n - it is a Catholic holiday, it is associated with Catholicism, and its only the influence of secularism/paganism that is likely to decatholicize it. We see that happening in America today, where the holiday is largely "secular" and humanist, despite Congressional attempts to declare it a Christian holiday (which, as you may have heard, got a surprising 9 votes against!). Feel free to celebrate it if you like, but don't insist that we join you.
I have freedom in Christ to treat the day, for religious purposes, like any other, and I plan to exercise that freedom, without stepping on your freedom to set it aside as a holy day for yourself.
May God Incarnate be glorified,