Christmas is the season for sweet secrets. Secret gifts are often bought early and stowed away in safe hiding places until the exact right moment arrives for them to be unveiled. Plans are kept under wraps until the time comes for them to be revealed.
Some of the mystery and joy are wrapped up in the wrappings which hide the secrets.
Mary knew the truth. How long did she carry the sweet secret in her heart alone before she revealed it to her family and friends? How did her family and friends receive the news? We are not privy to most of their reactions, we do, however, know how her fiancé, Joseph, felt.
To say he didn’t take it well would be an understatement. He was violently kicked in the stomach and didn’t believe it was anything other than what it looked like. His world, his dreams came to a screeching halt. For him this wasn’t a joyful secret. There had never been a woman who had a child apart from the norm, and that involved a man. Joseph knew he wasn’t the man. It hadn’t been him, so it had to be someone else.
A termination of their betrothal was his only option. How long could he wait until he had to go through the legal proceedings to divorce himself from her? His love overwhelmed his grief. He was compassionate and didn’t want to expose this woman he had passionately loved to public disgrace, so his plan became to go about all the legalities privately.
He had spent many days and nights dreaming of a life with Mary by his side. He had anticipated the sweet joy of loving her for the rest of his days and the overwhelming thrill of her bearing his sons and daughters.
And then she shared this secret. She was already carrying a child. This wasn’t a new beginning; this was an end. This was a nightmare finale to his hopes and dreams for a future with her as his wife. It brought down the curtain on his anticipations and expectations for a family.
Joseph knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his future dreams were over, so God invaded Joseph’s dreams.
God sent an angel to appear to him in a dream. The angel delivered this comforting message, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
And it all happened in fulfillment of Scripture, a virgin conceived and the child was called Immanuel, God with us.