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12 Great saints of the Christmas story for men

nativity, manger, Christmas, Mary, Joseph, Jesus

Frame Stock Footage | Shutterstock

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 12/24/22

Reflecting on what Scripture says about these men can help us understand our parts in the story of salvation.

Reflecting on what Scripture says about the men in the Christmas story can help us understand our own parts to play in the story of salvation.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contain slightly different accounts of the birth of Jesus, so together, they highlight various important aspects of the Christmas story. 

The holy men below appear in one or both of the Gospel accounts.

St. Joseph 

“And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (Luke 2:4-5)

St. Joseph plays a central role in the story. He marries and cares for Mary, takes care of Jesus, saves Jesus from King Herod, and serves as a loving father to the infant God.

St. David

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1)

In his Gospel, St. Matthew really drives home that Jesus is of the kingly lineage of David, revealing how Jesus’ coming is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. (And yes, King David is considered a saint!)

St. Abraham 

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…” (Matthew 1:1)

St. Matthew describes Jesus’ whole family genealogy to root Jesus’ history in his Jewish heritage. He does this to show Jesus’ central place in salvation history, and also to help his followers understand our role as children of Abraham, who God promised would be “as numerous as the stars in the sky” (Genesis 26:4). (And he is also considered a saint.)

The Magi

“When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’” (Matthew 2:1-2)

Technically known as St. Gaspar, St. Melchior and St. Balthasar, these holy men revealed Jesus’ identity as King, God, and Man through the gifts they gave. As Gentiles, they also show that Jesus’ message is for all nations.

St. Zechariah  

“He asked for a tablet and wrote, ‘John is his name,’ and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God.” (Luke 1:63-64)

Zechariah is the origin of the stunningly beautiful Canticle of Zechariah, spoken at the birth of his son, John the Baptist, after his power of speech was miraculously restored. 

St. John the Baptist

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” (Luke 1:41-42)

The infant in Elizabeth’s womb is St. John the Baptist. John plays a key role in the Christmas story, not only as a baby, but also as the last of the prophets who foretold the coming of the Savior.

St. Simeon 

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.” (Luke 2:25-26)

Simeon identified baby Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah when his parents brought him to the temple. He waited patiently for God’s promise to be fulfilled, and when the Savior came, he knew him immediately.

Sts. Matthew and Luke

These two early disciples of Christ are, of course, the authors of the Christmas stories in the Bible. Without them, we wouldn’t know very much about the first Christmas.

Isaiah the Prophet

The first of the major prophets of the Old Testament, St. Isaiah delivered prophecies about the Messiah that are an important part of the Christmas story. St. Matthew emphasizes how God’s promise of deliverance in Isaiah’s time is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, in whom God is with his people.

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