The Bible's two Christmas stories told in parallel

There are only a few basic ideas in the Christmas stories that Matthew and Luke agree on.

Prophesies fulfilled

Other similarities

And that's about it!

Matthew and Luke flesh out the details in their own ways, each including many additional stories.


Matthew's Christmas Story:
Kings, Wise Men & Dreams
Luke's Christmas Story:
Priests, Angels & Shepherds
Zacharias was a priest and the husband of Mary's relative Elizabeth.

One day, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to tell him his elderly wife would give birth to John the Baptist and that Zacharias would be unable to speak until the birth.
The Virgin Mary was betrothed to marry Joseph, the carpenter. She conceived through the Holy Spirit.
About six months later in Nazareth, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. It told her that she would give birth through the Holy Spirit and to name the baby "Jesus." The angel also told Mary about Elizabeth's pregnancy.
Mary then travelled to Zacharias and Elizabeth's house in the hill country of Judea. When Mary greeted her, Elizabeth's unborn baby leapt for joy.

Mary expressed a lengthy song, stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and returned home.

Joseph saw that Mary was pregnant and planned to separate privately.

An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. It said to take Mary home as his wife and call the baby "Jesus."
So Joseph started to live with Mary as his wife, but did not have marital relations while she was pregnant.
Soon, John the Baptist was born. On the eighth day, it was time to circumcise and name the baby. Zacharias wrote to call him John, and then his voice came back.

Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and voiced a lengthy prophetic song.

Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem in Judea for a census because that was the hometown of Joseph's ancestor, King David.
Mary gave birth in Bethlehem and Joseph named the baby "Jesus."
Mary gave birth and laid the baby in an animal feeding trough, as there was no room in the inn.
That night, some shepherds were visited by an angel, who told them about the Messiah's birth.

Then many more angels appeared, singing praises to God.

So the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph and the baby. The shepherds told others about the angels then returned to the Messiah.

When the baby was eight days old, he was circumcised and given the name that the angel had given to Mary, "Jesus."

Weeks later, they went to the temple in Jerusalem to make Mary "clean" after her birth, by sacrificing a pair of doves.

After this, Joseph, Mary and their baby, Jesus, returned to their home in Nazareth.

Later, wise men from the east saw a special star rise, meaning the king of the Jews was born. They wanted to worship him so they travelled to Jerusalem in Judea to look for him.

The wise men's search for the new king of the Jews disturbed King Herod the Great and the rest of Jerusalem. Chief priests and teachers of the law said that according to a prophecy, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

King Herod privately asked the wise men when the star had first appeared and to tell him when they had found the child in Bethlehem so that he too could worship the child.

The star the wise men had seen went ahead of them and stopped over the house where Jesus was.

In the house, the wise men met Mary and her child, Jesus. They bowed down and worshipped Jesus and gave him gifts.

The wise men were warned in their dreams not to go back to Herod, so they avoided Jerusalem on their trip home.

Then an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream. It told him to flee to Egypt because King Herod would try to kill the new king.

So Joseph left with Mary and their child, Jesus, that night.

King Herod ordered all boys aged two years and younger living around Bethlehem to be killed.

After Herod died, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to go back to Israel.

Joseph heard that Herod's son, Herod Archelaus, was ruling in Judea where Bethlehem was. He was warned in a dream to go to Nazareth in Galilee.

So Joseph, Mary and the child Jesus made their new home in Nazareth.

Taken from An Uncensored Guide to the Christmas Stories

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