Well, there was a time when the ire against Christmas and its celebration here in America had to do with the last syllable of the word, the "mas" -- which is an abbreviated version of the word "Mass," a reference to the Catholic eucharistic liturgy. The Puritans who settled in New England and the Scottish Presbyterians who followed them in settling the American colonial frontier had a particular aversion to the celebration of Christmas, viewing it as a papist festival that had no place in a properly Reformed understanding of the Christian life. In addition to its Catholic roots, Christmas was also impermissibly tinged, in the Puritan view, with the earlier pagan holidays that occurred in December, as the Puritan leader Increase Mather noted:
Just how strong was the Puritan aversion to Christmas? So strong that the ACLU has an article posted on its website detailing how these devout Calvinists reviled the Christmas holiday: Puritans & Christmas. An interesting read!
Being neither a Puritan nor a member of the ACLU, though, and as a proud member of the Church of Rome, I feel completely at ease wishing all our readers a blessed and merry Christmas. I plan on celebrating the day by engaging in an overt act of papist devotion, followed by a vigorous bout of wassailing!