I’m sure your mailbox looks a lot like mine this time of year — full of catalogs from every retailer you can imagine. I usher those catalogs directly into the recycling bin lest our kids get their hands on them and my house is overcome with chorus after chorus of “I want” set to the music of pen circling and pages being dog-eared.

And it’s really not just for my kids’ sake. When I flip through those pages, I too become aware of all of the alluring items that promise to make my life, better, prettier, easier, or more comfortable. I begin my own chorus of “I want! I want!”

The fact is, we are created to want. Desire is written within us. But, as Christmas approaches, I can get caught up in the lights, storefronts, ribbons, and wrapping paper and overlook the One who is to be the object of my desire, the One to whom I should declare my praises — and the One whom we are celebrating at Christmas.

As intentional as I have been about keeping the season centered on Jesus, our culture has made Christmas a celebration of “I want” — gluttony masked as observance of the greatest Gift we’ve ever received.

And while I love giving and receiving presents, I’m not sure Jesus wants that to be the focus of His birthday.

I know He doesn’t.

Jesus only says “I want” one time in the entire Bible. One time. That’s it. And do you know how He spends His “I want”?

Jesus spends His “I want” on you and me — those who have been given to Him by the Father. Jesus prays:

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory You have given me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.” {John 17:24}

I can hear the longing as He prays.

Jesus longs for you and for me. He has everything He could ever want or need in the whole wide universe. He has all of God’s glory. And still, He expresses a desire. His deep desire is to have us with Him.

Jesus is not lonely — He is in perfect relationship with God and the Holy Spirit, and yet He wants companionship with His followers. That’s us. That’s us! He left all the comforts of heaven to come get us, and He wants us with Him.

Better than getting everything you could ever want in any store or catalog, is knowing and resting in the blessed reminder that you are His gift from the Father {John 17:6} and you are wanted.

When the hustle and bustle of the season leaves you worn out, remember, you are wanted.

When you wonder if you’ll live up to expectations of others, remember, you are wanted.

When loneliness covers you like a shroud while everyone else seems to have loved ones gathered near, remember, you are wanted.

Oh, that our “I want” at Christmas would be reserved for Jesus. Let us not squeeze Him in between the busyness of the season. But let’s make this a season of leaning into Him and finding more and more reasons to love Him — a joyful journey that has no end.

That’s the kind of Christmas I want.

Related: Devote this Christmas to seeking Christ and celebrate His coming with this memorable set of Three Wise Kings by Willow Tree.

  • Tami Harbin

    That is really significant that Jesus is only quoted with one “I want”. Thanks for sharing!

    • JulieHH

      Tami, this is a truth that I have not been able to get over. I remember the day I learned it — just the way we remember where we were for all life-changing, significant events. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me!

  • Rebecca Jones

    It made me think of the song, All I Want For Christmas Is You, Jesus, yes, He’s the only gift we really need.

    • JulieHH

      Amen, Rebecca!

  • Scott Mayo

    “gluttony masked as observance…” – those are powerful words. thank you.

    • JulieHH

      And thank you for your generous encouragement, Scott!

  • jed

    Thanks for sharing.

    • JulieHH

      You are so welcome!

  • Carol Hildebrand

    The words here filled my heart! Having lost my precious husband last year I have a ‘hole’ but know Jesus is the ONLY one to fill it!
    I am longing to KNOW Him completely, fully, and thank you for these incredible thoughts. Please write more!

    • JulieHH

      Carol, please don’t ever forget that you are WANTED. You are wanted by Jesus and you are wanted by anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing you. Love you!

    • Beth Williams

      So sorry for the loss of your beloved husband! I know holidays can be hard when you’ve lost someone! May God come around you and hold you in his wings! I pray for peace and contentment! You are wanted and loved!!!

  • Dusty

    Loved reading this! Nice reminder for the busy, wanting and needing world.

    • JulieHH

      Thank you, Dusty! There is so much busy, wanting and needing, isn’t there? Ahhh, but Jesus….

  • Gracie Hilton

    Julie Hildebrand is a talented writer who has much wisdom to share about love, life, and family–and focusing on the true meaning of all of these relationships.

    • JulieHH

      Gracie, thank you for being so lavish with your encouragement! You are a treasure!

  • Jennifer Griffin

    How I love that we are–that I am–Christ’s gift from the Father. Thank you, Julie, for the reminder that we are wanted and cherished.

    • JulieHH

      Isn’t it funny how we don’t want to admit we’re “God’s gift to anyone,” but there it is, right there is scripture? Ha! It feels so good to be wanted and cherished and Jesus didn’t throw his want around — He kept it just for us — for me and for you. Thank you for your encouragement!

  • Michelle Pheiffer Gott

    Such a wonderful message. Thank you!

    • JulieHH

      Thank you for your encouragement, Michelle!

  • Brody Hildebrand

    Beautifully written and wonderfully applied. :)

    • JulieHH

      I think you’re flirting with me…. ;-)

      • Brody Hildebrand

        Perhaps…and trying to ‘incourage’ you! ;-)

  • Beth Williams

    Your post reminded me of the song “Leaving Heaven” by Matthew West. It is Jesus talking to us about leaving Heaven and why He left! This world-eh the devil doesn’t want us to remember Jesus Christ so he devised a plan-commercialism. Thanks for the reminder that I am wanted and loved by Almighty God! Kinda hard to wrap my mind around!

    Blessings :)

    • JulieHH

      Beth, thank you for your kind words! I’m going to look up the lyrics to that song. John 17 — the whole chapter — is Jesus’ prayer to God right after the Last Supper and right before being taken by the guards. In this prayer I hear Him longing for us. I read this chapter often to remind myself how much I am loved and wanted by Him. And so are you! :-)

  • Rebecca

    Such a good reminder … Than you Julie!

    • JulieHH

      Thank you, Rebecca!!

  • Kim Vivlamore Waguespack

    I loved this entire message about all we should want for Christmas is Jesus UNTIL I got to the end and there is a link to purchase the Three Wise Kings by Willow Tree. I love the incourage devotions, I just wish Dayspring didn’t use them to try and sell stuff.

    • JulieHH

      Hi Kim — Thank you and I completely get what you’re saying. But there is a slight shift that might help a bit. It’s not DaySpring that uses (in)courage, but rather, it is DaySpring that makes (in)courage possible. I’m so thankful DaySpring uses its funds to bring us devotionals we can read every day without paying for them. Again, I totally get what you are saying, but it’s good to remember someone is paying for this awesome site, and very few companies choose to pay for giving out encouraging words rooted in Christ. Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me and comment here!

      • Kim Vivlamore Waguespack

        I understand that DaySpring funds the site, it just seemed like a bad choice for that link to follow your beautiful piece about wanting Jesus, not stuff.