As the Christmas season wanes, I am still pondering the concepts of Emmanuel and Omnipresence. There are two ways we are compelled in the knowledge of God being with us at all times. One way pushes us towards fear and the other towards comfort. Some may see God’s omnipresence in a Kris Kringle manner. God sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, and knows if you’ve been bad or good. He will repay you with just reward, so be good for goodness sake! Yes, this view of God is a moral police officer, and there is no force behind this fearful drive to be good other than the terror of being caught or perhaps the promise of a few blessings.
While there is some healthy fear that should arrive through a knowledge of God with us, tallying goods and bads is not the act of a loving father. The other, and I believe more appropriate way, we can respond to Emmanuel is through the knowledge that God sees us at every angle and that does not budge our standing with Him one ounce. It is easy to try to please someone from a distance because they don’t see you at your worst or even often at your normal, but try to please someone who knows you inside and out and the odds of pleasing them decrease. In fact, looking at the wretchedness of my own heart, that may be impossible.
However, we can rest assured that we never have to work to please Someone who is already pleased with us. We know that He has seen everything about us, and recognizing the sin that held us apart, He let that be no obstacle to His love but bridged the gap Himself (Ezekiel 22:30), putting our sinful deeds behind His back (Hebrews 8:12), and clothing us with His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). He is now pleased with us not because of works done by us in righteousness but by a the work of His Son (Titus 3:5).
There is something incredibly freeing and hopeful about knowing there is Someone who knows absolutely everything about you and loves you regardless. A God who is omnipresent and available at all times like a loving father who watches over his child. We are able to draw near to Him because He first drew near to us, no longer dreading the consistent presence of God, but finding it incredibly wondrous to have a friend, counselor, Father, and Savior at our side at all times no matter how we feel we should be treated.
Emmanuel, Jesus Christ, God with us. Truly, it is a reason to rejoice.