Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, but there was one huge secret in Nazareth: Joseph knew he was not the biological father of his oldest son.
Despite the town gossip that clouded Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph never tried to defend his own reputation. He didn’t try to explain that he was innocent. He didn’t attempt to clear his own name and force Mary to carry the shame by herself. He never revealed to his neighbors the words he received from the angel. Alone at night, he and Mary shared their secret.
Joseph adopted Jesus. Joseph treated him with the same care and love that he gave to all his children. He taught him a trade. He sent Jesus to synagogue school. Joseph did such a good job parenting Jesus, that people in town assumed Joseph really was the father of Jesus. While they later questioned Jesus about his ability to do miracles, they never doubted who his father was. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”
Have you ever had to hold on to a painful secret in order to protect those you love? Did you risk being misunderstood? Were you tempted to defend yourself or shunt the blame on someone else? Jesus told those in the crowd, “Everything that is now hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light.” (Mark 4:22) Joseph likely died before he saw his secret revealed. Are you willing to wait, as Joseph did, for God to reveal the truth in his way and at his time?