April 23, 2014
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The power of a moment: Newtown & Christmas
A photographer's image amid the sorrows in Newtown, Conn., illustrates the power of a moment.  Photo by Erick Ogren/Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
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Posted on Dec 19, 2012 | by Jim Veneman

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JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) -- Over the next couple of weeks there is a good chance that more photographs will be taken than any other time of the year. With the Christmas season come some of the most powerful photo opportunities we will ever see: Moments.

From the first day of photography classes here at Union University, students hear me talk about capturing moments. In order to make a photograph of something so elusive, one needs to be very aware and have an ability to anticipate. Strategically linked to awareness and anticipation also will be the capacity to concentrate completely for a few brief seconds, blocking out all the other things that are happening.

When a great moment is about to occur, the temptation that most controls us is a desire to be involved. We want to clap and cheer too, or provide a needed hug. Sometimes what could have been a wonderful photograph turns into a group photo of smiling faces, all looking at the camera. Only our memory can recount what had happened seconds earlier. The moment had passed.

Over the last few days we've all seen powerful moments that are hard to forget. Images of children being led to a safer place, and the faces of those lost amid the tragedy. Moments indeed can be sad and sometimes very hard. Although photographs like these can take us to emotional depths, they can also be a starting point for change. The photograph of a moment can have tremendous power by simply making us more aware.

Although our nation has been hurt deeply, in this season we also have reason to celebrate. We celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We can push back the darkness that engulfs us and experience a God-given moment if we choose to see it. A photograph of such a moment can be a reminder of hope and can help lead us forward.

My encouragement to anyone reading this is to pull out that little camera or camera phone and be ready. Be ready to capture the moment that might help remind us of God's love for us and the joy we can have through Him.
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Jim Veneman is director of visual communication and assistant professor at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
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