Okay, bear with us please, because this is more than a little weird.
Just about every modern pregnancies comes with at least one sonogram, an image of a fetus in development that doctors use to monitor health and development. Parents use it to share their excitement.
But one couple spotted something a little odd on their sonogram. And it looked, to them, like Jesus.
You see it, right? Right there on the left.
You see what looks like a long-haired guy with a beard.
Culturally, we’re taught to recognize that, not as Poseidon or basically any dude from the 1970s, but as Jesus.
This sonogram was taken shortly before Briella was born.
Briella’s parents, Alicia Zeek and Zac Smith, were struck immediately by the distinctive image in their sonogram.
Alicia and Zac, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, spoke about the phenomenon.
“When they gave it to us… Umm, to me, it’s Jesus,” Alicia says. “And it looks like Jesus.”
At first, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“I blinked a lot, to kinda make sure I was really seeing it…”
Zac also spoke about it.
“This is distinct — I mean, there’s another face looking at my daughter!”
The couple say that they’re not particularly religious, but Zac describes a very emotional response to the image.
“When I seen it, it almost brought tears to my eyes… I was speechless, I just couldn’t believe it, I really didn’t believe what I was seeing.”
This from a couple who describe themselves as not being particularly religious.
From people reporting that they’ve seen Jesus’ image appear “miraculously” on toast to pointing out that they see Jesus take shape around their dog’s butthole …
… it’s very common for people to spot what they’ll describe as an image of Jesus’ face on everyday items.
We’ll get into the psychology behind that in a moment, but we should acknowledge that it’s fairly widespread.
But many regard such appearances as novelty items.
(Though often devout Christians are irritated by what they see as frivolous claims of “miracles” that they feel embarrass their religious community)
For Alicia and Zac, however, this was a positive omen.
Zac describes his interpretation: “The angel or God or Jesus, however you want to propose it, I look at it as my blessing.”
Alicia and Zac had two very difficult pregnancies, with their first child being born with a series of complications and their second chidlbirth nearly claiming Alicia’s life.
Briella, who was born healthy, is their third child.
We’re not going to tell anyone what to believe, of course.
The thing is that human beings are psychologically wired to pick out hidden faces.
This makes a lot of sense for the survival of our species — to recognize each other, but also to spot ambushes or other threats.
The same thing applies to recognizing familiar iconography.
Some images are so omnipresent in our culture that, regardless of someone’s beliefs,
You can grow up non-religious in a non-religious household and still have angels and Jesus and everything firmly embedded in your psyche, because Christianity has dominated Western culture for a full millennium.
But Christians who believe that these apparitions — even the seemingly irreverent ones — are genuine omens would point out that just because the human mind constantly searches for “faces” doesn’t mean that a genuine face couldn’t show up.
As for Alicia and Zac, we’re just glad that they found it comforting at the end of a very tense pregnancy.