Thursday, 24 December 2020
Title: EWJ or EWOJ?
By: Cecilia Tan 陈俊芳
Psalm 72:11 “All kings will bow before Him, and all nations will serve Him.”
During the pre-Covid days, most of us would be caught up in the sparkle of the Christmas season… the lights, the carols, decorations, presents, Christmas trees and Santa Claus! We would inevitably be overwhelmed with the rush and hassle, the glitter and tinsel, the parties and festivities, the turkeys and the cookies and the many gifts to buy and the ones we will receive!
Now that we are in this first post-Covid Christmas, uncertainty reigns about how best to celebrate the festival. Indeed the world has weathered many storms in the past, but none that has unleashed impacts quite like the Covid storm. The devastation has been totally unexpected resulting in a huge loss of human life worldwide and presenting unprecedented health, economic and social challenges to the entire human population. What a storm!
Let’s see how a young boy breezed through a raging storm. Many
years ago, Dr Lloyd John Ogilvie, a Presbyterian minister and former Chaplain of the US Senate, in his book “Silent Strength for My Life” told the story of a young boy he met while on a flight. The boy was travelling alone and seated next to Ogilvie in the plane. During the flight, the plane flew into a very bad storm and suddenly became unsteady in the air, lurching violently from side to side and sent drinks flying. Some terrified passengers panicked and screamed but the boy was calm and continued colouring in the airline colouring book. A lady passenger seated across the aisle from the boy asked the boy, “Little boy, aren’t you scared?” The boy looked up briefly from his colouring book and replied, “ No, Ma’am, my dad’s the pilot.”
Like the young boy, we are all on a flight. Like the boy’s flight, we will also encounter turbulence, chaos, turmoil and life-threatening situations during our flight. But our destination is not an earthly one. We are all on the same flight bound for Eternity. For some of us, the flight will last several decades, for some it may last more than half a century, and for an exceptional few, the flight will last more than a century!!
But we will all reach the airport of Eternity, sooner or later. We will leave the airport and enter the vastness of Eternity via 2 gates located diametrically opposite each other: EWJ (Eternity With Jesus) or EWOJ (Eternity WithOut Jesus). To use the EWJ gate, the pre-requisite would be that we need to have received the Gift of eternal life during our flight. With this Gift we will have the calming assurance that the Captain of our flight is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Upon arrival we will be led to the EWJ gate where our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Himself will be at the gate to welcome and escort us into Eternity. But woe betide those who are ushered through the EWOJ gate!
This Christmas is a good time as any to ask ourselves, “Who is the baby born in the manger on Christmas Day? Is He our Pilot par excellence? Our Lifeguard who walks on water? Our Almighty God who can calm the fiercest of storms? Our loving Heavenly Father who beckons us, saying “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)? Our Saviour of whom it was written: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11)?
Our King of Kings, our Name Above All Names, whose majestic power and glory was spoken of in Psalm 72:11 “All kings will bow before Him, and all nations will serve Him”?
Or is He, in your opinion, just another famous human name written about in all the history books and world encyclopedias?
I pray for those who have yet to receive the blessed assurance of entering Eternity via the EWJ gate, that they will soon avail themselves of this glorious hope that the baby born in a manger came to deliver on Christmas Day!
Indeed this glorious hope is the true reason for the season, as Frank McKibben succinctly puts it:
“This is Christmas:
not the tinsel, not the giving
and receiving, not even the carols.
But the humble heart that receives anew
the wondrous gift — the Christ.”
May the love, joy, peace and hope of Christmas be ours to enjoy not only on Christmas Day but on every other day of our flight to Eternity!
A blessed Christmas to one and all!
Our Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for Your immeasurable and everlasting love for us, that caused You to come to earth in human form on Christmas Day, as our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We thank You for the blessed assurance that we will enter Eternity via the EWJ gate which will lead us to everlasting joy in your presence! In the glorious Name of Jesus our Saviour we pray, Amen!
让我们看看一个小男孩是如何轻松地度过一场风暴。许多年前，一位长老会牧师及前美国参议院牧师劳埃德•约翰•奥格尔维博士（Dr Lloyd John Ogilvie）在他的《我一生的沉默力量》一书中讲述了他在飞行途中遇到的一个小男孩的故事。这个男孩独自旅行，在飞机上坐在奥格尔维旁边。在飞行过程中，飞机飞入了一场非常恶劣的风暴，突然变得不稳定，在空中剧烈地左右摇晃，饮料飞溅。一些惊恐的乘客惊慌失措地尖叫，但男孩很平静，继续在航空公司的填色画册上涂色。坐在男孩对面过道的一位女乘客问男孩：“小男孩，你不害怕吗？” 男孩短暂地从他的填色画册上抬起头，回答说：“不，夫人，我爸爸是这架飞机的飞行员。”
这个圣诞节是我们问自己的好时机：“圣诞节那天在马槽里出生的婴儿是谁？祂是我们卓越的飞行员吗？是我们的那位在水上行走的救生员吗？是使最剧烈的风暴平息的全能上帝吗？ 是那召唤我们 “凡劳苦担重担的人可以到我这里来，我就使你们得安息。” (马太福音11:28)的慈爱天父吗？是经文记载的 “因今天在大卫的城里，为你们生了救主，就是主基督。” (路加福音2:11) 我们的救主吗？
诚然，这一份荣耀的盼望就是这时节的真正原因，正如弗兰克•麦基本(Frank McKibben) 简洁地说道：