Through the years I've been all over the spectrum on the meaning of Christmas issue. I began with the typical American Christian practice of mixing Christian and secular traditions. I happily enjoyed celebrating both Jesus' birth and Santa Claus' arrival.
Then I went to seminary and became a big time "JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON" guy. I think we even had a car magnet that said something to that effect.
Sometime after seminary I found out about Saturnalia. This showed me that Christmas, at least to some extent, had pagan roots. While Christ's incarnation is certainly worth cherishing, the actual Christmas holiday was not exactly that. It's all at least a bit confusing.
About the time I learned about Saturnalia, I also began reading my bible to see how the early church lived and functioned. This led, as has been well chronicled here, to my resignation from professional pastoring. It also showed me that the early church was not concerned with any sort of festival focusing on the birth of Christ. Rather, the early church looked much more intently at the death and resurrection.
In light of all this there was a short period of time when I didn't think Christians should celebrate Christmas at all. In particular, the pagan roots and capitalistic excess bothered me (the excess still does).
Now I've finally come to a new point as far as Christmas is concerned. My view is let's simply live and let live. As Christians, we all love Jesus and want to live for Him. Christ wants and demands that His church be united. It's a great victory for Satan when we fight over issues as silly as "the real meaning of Christmas."
We have much more important things to be concerned about. These include building one another up in Christ, proclaiming the good news to the lost, and caring for the needs of the poor, sick, and needy. These are all things we can easily unite around.
Therefore, feel free to celebrate Christmas in just about any way you want. If it's just about Jesus' birth, then go ahead. If it's only centered on Santa, feel free. If, like most folks, it is a mix, then enjoy it. If you decide to abstain from the whole thing, then be my guest.
Let's just not argue/fight about it. Let's also avoid passing judgment upon one another.
As for Christmas, live and let live.