Once a year millions of people experience an amazing transformation. This experience can last anywhere from a few days to a maximum of two weeks. During this time these individuals change from self-absorbed, rude, selfish folks into something unrecognizable to their family and associates, and even to themselves. They show signs of kindness and generosity, and some even become aware of the needs of others around them. Then, just as suddenly as they changed, they change back to their normal selves.
During this period these “transformers” (as they have become known to the scientific community) greet strangers, volunteer to help needy people, and give to charities. Some who are never seen to smile at any other time of the year have been caught with the sides of their mouths upturned. More “random acts of kindness” are reported during this period than at any other time of the year.
This phenomenon has been studied by eminent psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists. After years of research, they have concluded that they don’t totally understand the phenomenon, but they have agreed upon a name for it: “The Christmas Spirit.” The reasoning behind the title is that the aberrant behavior always occurs at the same time of year – the days and weeks preceding Christmas.
While the scientists admit that they do not completely understand the causative factors linked to these behaviors, they have detected some of the “triggers” that seem to be precursors of the unusual activity. These include Christmas decorations, special holiday church services, and, most important, Christmas music. Some of the most unpleasant people have been observed with tears in their eyes during the singing of “Silent Night.”
Of course those who understand the Bible know that what people refer to as “The Christmas Spirit” is nothing more than the way Jesus acted every day when He was on the earth, and they way every Christian is supposed to act every day.
You see, the word Christian means “Christ-like.” If we are truly followers of Christ, then we should endeavor to act like Him every day of the year. People around us should see no difference in our levels of kindness, selflessness and love whether it is summertime or Christmas time.
Which brings us back to the “transformers.” If you are normally mean, surly and inconsiderate, don’t change for a few days around Christmas. You will only confuse your friends and family.
However, if you want to become a different person permanently, read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). There you will learn not only what Jesus was like, but how you can become like Him. You will also learn how you can receive the only Christmas gift worth having – the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).
Dr. Tom Barrett has been an ordained minister for 30 years. He has written for local and national publications for most of his life, and has authored several non-fiction books. He has been interviewed on many TV and radio programs, and speaks at seminars nationwide. Tom is the editor and publisher of Conservative Truth, an email newsletter read by over fifty thousand weekly which focuses on moral and political issues from a Biblical viewpoint.