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Practicing the Art of Self-Forgetfulness This Holiday Season - Wholly Loved - November 21

Practicing the Art of Self-Forgetfulness This Holiday Season

By Jennifer Slattery

“My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:12

Am I the only one who finds it challenging to live out today’s verse over the holidays? I know Christmas is a time to celebrate love—the moment when God became flesh and chose to dwell among us so that one day He could die for us. I long to reveal that same sacrificial love to my family and friends as we gather around the dinner table, cheery carols streaming in the background. But then my pride rises, triggering insecurity and self-defensiveness.

The holidays can be tough. Family can be tough. We often come to our holiday gatherings lugging hurts from past conversations, knowing so-and-so doesn’t like us or think we’re good enough or whatever. Often, this results in one of two responses: We withdraw and pull deeper into ourselves, thus diminishing the glorious light within. Or, we lash out with harsh words, marring God’s image within. As a result, we end our evening in guilt and regret.

But there’s a better option, one that Christ displayed again and again—self-forgetfulness. One evening, a friend discussed an upcoming holiday reunion. I don’t remember the details except that certain people who’d be attending routinely scorned her and her faith. “Isn’t that hard?” I asked?

She smiled and said, “No. I just focus on everyone else. On making them feel loved and comfortable.”

This struck me as simultaneously simple and beautiful. How freeing to set ourselves aside, quiet our inner narrative, and love others like Jesus loved us. He spoke today’s verse on the night before His death, knowing precisely what lay ahead. His mind was on the cross. That was Christ’s definition of love—to die to ourselves so that Christ might live and love within us.

Dead women don’t get offended, have hurt feelings, or feel insecure. Can you imagine the freedom we’d experience this holiday season if we focused on ourselves less and on loving others like Jesus more?

Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is a multipublished author of Hometown Healing among other titles who also writes articles, Bible studies, and devotions. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at or book her for your next women’s event.

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