The Privileged Life: The Best Photo I Never Got

“Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matthew 24:44

It was a spectacular image. A crowning achievement for my annals of photography. A fist-pumping moment. But I didn’t get it.

Paris, 1982. (Yep, another story related to my blog last week.) On yet another trek around town, I emerged from a Métro subway station beside the Seine to find a typical Paris sky, gloomy and overcast with a drizzly haze. 

My destination was the hauntingly beautiful Notre Dame Cathedral. As I crossed the bridge toward the courtyard, something unusual happened. The skies parted, opening a hole in the clouds. A shaft of sunlight flooded the ancient face and towers of Paris’s dowager queen, illuminating her with a sun-powered spotlight from heaven.

Then…the unbelievable. A brilliant rainbow materialized above, leaving me breathless. 

I grabbed my trusty Canon Sure Shot, raised it to capture this exquisite apparition, and pressed the shutter button.

No click. Batteries dead. Utterly. Dead.

Dismayed, I raced to a nearby shop that sold batteries and returned to my spot. It was gone. The whole rapturous pageant. The moment from heaven when angels probably sang and wept at the sheer beauty of God’s power.

Argh. But…it’s okay (I sigh). My memory of it is still as sharp as the Kodachrome would have been after all these years. And it taught me a lesson. Always carry spare batteries.

What does this have to do with anything now? Aren’t we supposed to be talking about Christmas or COVID? (Yes to Christmas. No to COVID…I’m too weary of it.)

This message is about preparation. Advent is all about getting ready for Jesus. We’re supposed to be making our hearts ready to receive the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, who has come to earth to bring hope and joy to sorrowful souls.

I’ve been atrociously guilty in past Christmas seasons of getting into a frenzy without really stopping to spend time with Jesus. I’ve spent long hours Martha-ing when I should have been Mary-ing.

But COVID has brought a lot of stuff grinding to a halt, and maybe that’s a blessing in this curse. This year, I can forego a lot of frantic shopping, entertaining, and trying to get everything perfect. 

Instead, I really do want to get ready for Jesus.

I missed the greatest photo in my life because I wasn’t prepared. I don’t want to miss the joy of time with Christ because I frittered my hours away on material things. I hope to spend quiet moments with Him, maybe with a fragrant Christmas candle burning as I offer up my prayers. I need to recharge.

I want to spend more time with my sweet family. And still take lots of pictures for remembering the good from this year, long after the bitter effects have faded.

Need batteries? Stock up, take extra. Need Jesus? Fill up on Him, take extra time with Him. 

Let’s start preparing now to celebrate the greatest news of all time…and share it with a weary world.

Lord Jesus, Savior and Prince of Peace, prepare our hearts now for making this Christmas one to remember, one to share with those who are hurting. Calm our hearts at Your manger, and as we enter Your presence, fill us with awe, wonder, and hope. In Your precious name, Amen.

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© Copyright 2020 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative

P.S. Obviously, other (and much better) photographers have captured such moments in Paris. Here are a couple to enjoy…wish I could have shared mine!

The original photoshopping method….

3 responses to “The Privileged Life: The Best Photo I Never Got”

  1. […] I’m just as guilty of being too focused on a task at hand, working too long on the computer, or driving past an extraordinary example of God’s miracles in nature. Missed some of them—like the rainbow that appears but vanishes before you can snap the photo (for that story, see […]


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