Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you for a glorious Christmas at St. Luke's. As I say every year, in our tradition, Christmas is not just a day but a season and not just a season but a way of life.

January 1 is the eighth day of Christmas, otherwise known as the Feast of the Holy Name. Jesus' name means "the one who saves." Think about it for a moment. How would things be different if every day you lived as if the word was made flesh, if Jesus (whose name means “the one who saves”) was really “God with us,” and if following the admonition of St. Theresa of Avila, your task was to continue his mission as his hands and feet, as a light shines in the darkness, and one who brings of peace on earth and good will to all people?

Christmas was a profoundly sacramental and incarnational moment. It tells us that we can experience spiritual things through physical things, such as bread and wine. It tells us that we can experience holy things through human things, such as you and as me. If a baby born in a manger to a poor Palestinian teenager bring hope and good news to the world, so can each of us who bear that his name.

For many people, Christmas is kind of like a New Year’s resolution. It sounds great but the impact lasts about as long as it takes for the city to pick up the discarded Christmas tree from the curb. If that sounds familiar, I encourage you to try something new this year. Christmas is not just a day but a season and not just a season but a way of life… a way of life that can be yours.

Dean Shambaugh

Sunday Services for January 1

The Feast of the Holy Name

We will have our regular Sunday services at 7:30, 10:00 and 5:15 on January 1

Sunday School, Adult Education, and Choir are on break until next week.


Youtube Live

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How did we do on Christmas?

Christmas attendance 2021

Family service: 126 Midnight service: 245 Christmas Day 64

Christmas Attendance 2022

Family service: 233 Midnight service 390 Christmas Day 55

Average Sunday attendance 2021 156

Average Sunday attendance 2022 166

(note that 2022 does not yet include web views)

A Choral COVID Outbreak

Following Christmas, at least eight choir members have come down with Covid. Out of abundance of caution, we will refrain from sharing the common cup this week and strongly encourage those who come to the cathedral this Sunday to remain masked during the services. If you do not feel well, we encourage you to watch our services on line!

As previously scheduled, the choir is on break this Sunday. We welcome Harold Stover as our guest organist. Please keep our choir members in your prayers. If you know of anyone who is sick or needs assistance, please contact the cathedral office.

The Rest of the Story - Reflections on the Holy Family

and Jesus as a Refugee and Asylum Seeker

On the one hand, having both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on Sundays was a special treat this year. On the other hand, combined with closing the cathedral between Christmas and New Year’s, this schedule meant that we missed not only some significant Saint’s Days (St. Stephen, the first deacon and St. John, the author of the fourth gospel), but also the story of what happened next, even beyond the circumcision and naming of Jesus which we hear about on January 1.

Like the season of Christmas itself, Christmas pageants usually end with the coming of the Wise Men which we will celebrate at our 12:10 service for the Epiphany on Friday. Though the scriptures aren’t clear that they were men or kings (or that there were three of them), the scriptures do show that their visit triggered a violent reaction from King Herod, resulting in the killing of every male child under two years old (traditionally known as "the Slaughter of the Holy Innocents") which the Jesus escaped when his family became refugees and asylum seekers, fleeing to Egypt in the middle of the night.

For Jesus, what is known as "the Flight into Egypt" did three things: First, it solidified part of Jesus’ identity that would be later confirmed on the mount of the Transfiguration and the mount of the Beatitudes, that of Jesus as the second Moses. Second, the return from Egypt to Nazareth brought the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the area around the Sea of Galilee, where he was free from the immediate influence of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and where he would be able to find people receptive to his message and willing to become his disciples. Third, on a very practical level, time in Egypt gave Jesus the experience of living as a runaway political refugee in a foreign country during his formative years. This provided him with an understanding of the wider, non-Jewish world, an experience of poverty, a respect for diversity, an understanding of new languages and cultures, and a compassion for those who were different and outside of the mainstream. Today, with immigration as such a hot button, it is important to remember that as a young boy Jesus was a refugee, an asylum seeker, and an illegal immigrant. He was a child of illegal immigrants whose parents snuck him over the border by night. This experience would place a profound mark on both Jesus’ ministry and the church that would bear his name. With all this in mind, it becomes clear the flight into Egypt was an extremely important part of Jesus’ early life. In his efforts to destroy Jesus, Herod unwittingly not only insured his survival and success but the survival and success of Christianity itself. In his efforts to stop Christmas once and for all, Herod insured that it would go on thousands of years after he was gone.

The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents and the Flight into Egypt tell us that the Christmas story is far grittier and more interesting than Christmas Cards and letters might suggest. They tell us also tell us that God’s power to transform darkness into light is greater and that Christmas is far more relevant and real than we might have imagined before. They also tell us who we are called to be and what we are called to do as a church.

Dean Shambaugh

Join us for an Epiphany Service January 6

Please join us for a service celebrating Epiphany and the coming of the Wise Men on Friday, January 6 at 12:10 in Emmanuel Chapel.

Welcome to Visitors

Thank you for visiting St. Luke's!

Please Visit our "I'm New" Page on our Website

Weekly Ministries

  • St. Elizabeth's Jubilee Center is offered every Tuesday from 8:30 am to 11 am.
  • The Food Pantry is open from 9 am to 11 am every Thursday.
  • Noon prayer is offered every Wednesday via Zoom.
  • The Tuesday 12:10 Eucharist gathers weekly in Emmanuel Chapel. Join via Zoom.
  • Contemplative Prayer is offered every Thursday at 4:30 pm via Zoom.
  • Compline is also offered weekly on Friday from 8-9pm on Zoom. For additional details contact Ray Murdoch Curry

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Physical Address:

143 State Street, Portland, ME 04101

Parking Available at:

134 Park Street, Portland, ME 04101

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 4141, Portland, ME 04101

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