Is it a sign? Or just a coincidence of nature?
That’s what had residents of a small Iowa town in a bit of a debate when sap from a tree seemed to resemble the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus.
The story was first reported by KCCI-TV back in 2014 According to them, the tree in Polk City, Iowa began attracting a lot of attention when the apparition (or perhaps sap-parition) first appeared.
The tree, which is located at the intersection of 3rd Street and Bridge Road in the small town outside of Des Moines, has caused quite a stir among residents.
“It makes me wonder how it got there. Was it struck by lightning? Was there a disease?” Jennifer Naylor told the station.
The image of Mary and Jesus Christ in the tree, which is about six feet high, didn’t exactly get everyone’s notice at first.
“I’ve been back here a hundred times and I’ve never even noticed that,” one man said.
Robert Deitch of nearby Ankeny says he comes by the site “about once every couple of weeks.”
“Never noticed it though,” he said. Others, however, have taken notice of the strange formation before.
“For the longest time I couldn’t decide if it looked like Mother Mary or Jesus,” one passer-by noted.
And, indeed, other locals have noticed the resemblance.
“There have been several shrines off and on,” Polk City’s Craig Porter said.
Naylor added that “the flowers sitting there” are proof “that other people are seeing the same thing I see.”
Perhaps not everyone’s a convert to the belief that this is a supernatural sign. After all, strange things happen in nature. Sap or other natural phenomena could be responsible for it. Even if it was, what would it signify?
Well, it is catching at least some people’s attention, and maybe that’s the important thing — to remember Jesus and his story.
“Now I’m going to see it every time I come by here,” Deitch noted.
In a world where Christians believe everything is by God’s design, perhaps just remembering the Savior — and the sacrifice he made for all of us on the cross — is the only real sign we all need.
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