“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.”  (Matthew 1:24-25)  The Christmas story is perhaps the most familiar Biblical passage to many of us.  It brims with characters who must act in faith against their better judgment.  Joseph is one of the best examples.  Imagine his consternation and heartbreak upon receiving word of Mary’s pregnancy.  And yet following his dream, he submits to God and acts in faith.  And in doing so, he takes upon himself as adopted son our Lord.  Joseph accepts a stranger as his son.  He becomes the guardian of a boy who looks nothing like him.  From time to time, God calls all of us to step out in faith against our better judgment.  Sometimes, like Joseph, he may even call us to reach out to a stranger, someone who is nothing like us.  But always, Christ calls all of us to put aside our own plans in order to do his work.  This Advent season, how are you doing with that aspect of being a disciple?  Are you willing to step out in faith in order to follow Jesus in a new way?  Are you willing to give to his work in a new way?  May this week be wonderful for you as we continue to approach the manger.