Christmas Boxes for Seafarers 2015

Christmas Boxes 2014 out front

Photo:  Pastor David Tinker and his son delivering the boxes last year at the Port of Houston.

Christmas Boxes for Port of Houston Seafarers 2015

We invite you to participate in this caring ministry of MLLC.  The Lutheran Men in Mission of MLLC will again prepare the Christmas Boxes of Port of Houston Seafarers. This is a ministry which brings cheer, God’s love, and practical gifts to people from around the world who must be away from family at Christmas. Between now and Thanksgiving weekend 2015 we invite you to collect items for the Men in Mission to pack for the seafarers. A collection station for these items will be set up during September. Last year there were 34 boxes assembled. Here is the address to our web page article about last year’s efforts:

The men on the ships truly appreciate the love and hospitality offered by these Christmas Boxes. Think about your life. Most of us get to be home every night with family and/or near friendly neighbors. Those who work in shipping are away from home for months at a time. They are thankful for the work, but they miss their families, friends and home communities.

The Port of Houston Chaplains are our ambassadors to these seafarers. They visit the ships and bring the boxes to the crews. On their web site the chaplains tell us: “Crew sizes vary between 8 and 30, with an average number of 22 seafarers to gift per ship. In 2014, we placed 11,392 gifts on board 512 ships which had seafarers from 69 different countries! These gifts had been donated to the seafarers by 223 churches and organizations! The Christmas boxes are personally carried to each ship by your staff of Port Chaplains.” Their web site is:

With our work together at MLLC we can help reach even more with the love of Jesus Christ.

Here is the official notice about this program from the Port of Houston Chaplains.  Click this link.

Please gather items such as these for the men on the ships:
Empty shoe boxes or purchased plastic shoe boxes to pack the items.
Address books
Band-aids (fabric)
Baseball caps
2016 Calendars
Dental Floss
Disposable razors
Flashlight and batteries
Kleenex – small packs
Lip balm
Nail clippers
Gold Bond cream
Gold Bond powder
Hot Chocolate (individual serving size)
Needles and thread
Shaving cream
Gum and hard candy
Key chains
Pocket-sized notebooks
Mechanical pencils
Playing cards
Microwave popcorn
Sudoku books
Texas souvenirs
USB flash drives
Word search books

Presiding Bishop’s 2014 Christmas Message


We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We are led by Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton.  It is an annual tradition that our presiding bishop presents a Christmas Message of some sort.  This year it was a video message which connects the manger of Jesus to the cross of Jesus.  Click here for the link to this video.

Gulf Coast Synod Bishop’s Christmas Message

Bishop Mike Rinehart BW

We are a congregation of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod.  We are led by Bishop Michael Rinehart.  In some way each year he presents a Christmas Message for the church.  This year he offers a video message for us.  Click here for a link to this Christmas Message video.

We are in the 12 Days of Christmas, and this is a wonderful time to reflect on God’s goodness and his message of hope in the midst of darkness and sin.

Why is December 25th Celebrated as the Birth of Christ?

Nativity Sacred Art NatShepherdMurillo

Why is Christmas on December 25th?

It is a special day, and has been for many centuries.  The Church has some good reasons for choosing this date.  Over time some skeptics have asserted that this date was chosen because of a connection to pagan religious festivals.

Some years ago William J. Tighe wrote an article which was published in Touchstone Magazine.  In this article he challenged the premise that December 25 is forcing a Christian celebration on top of a pagan festival.  He presents strong evidence that December 25 was chosen for purely Christian reasons.

Here is the link to the article:  click here for article

As we celebrate these 12 Days of Christmas we pray that you will be drawn closer to the Christ Child who gave himself for us.



Christmas Eve Was Wonderful

Christmas Eve 2014 Candles

A large crowd gathered to sing, pray, hear God’s Word, and to enjoy the annual Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) Christmas Play.  It was truly a beautiful night as these dedicated young people presented the message of Christmas for all to hear.

Remember, we gather for Holy Communion on Christmas Morning at 10:00 a.m.  We invite you to gather with God’s people on this very holy festival day.


Candle Lighting and the Gospel of the Incarnation

As part of the MLLC Tradition we have the annual Candlelight Service and reading of the Gospel of the Incarnation from John, chapter 1, verses 1-14.

Here is the text of that important message about Jesus, who he is, and what he has done for the world.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2He was in the beginning with God.  3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being  4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.                  

             6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

             10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.  11He came to what

was his own, and his own people did not accept him.  12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,  13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

             14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.


The youth presented their play:  “Christmas Eve Live”

Here are some photos of the youth, and an adult or two, who were in the play.  Thank you to Mia Williams for directing the play this year. Thank you to all the youth and adults who made this wonderful production happen.

Christmas Eve 2014 Kennedee Megan Christmas Eve 2014 Mary Joseph Christmas Eve 2014 Jordon Cole Christmas Eve 2014 Esther Dana JordonChristmas Eve 2014 Big Group Christmas Eve 2014 Aaron Jadon Carson LYO Christmas Eve Play 2014

Christmas Eve Worship and Play

LYO Christmas Eve Play 2014

Our Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) has been working hard preparing for Christmas Eve. They are leading the service and presenting their play. We look forward to seeing you at worship at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

This will be our Candlelight Service as well. Come to hear the Good News. Come to support our youth.

We will also have worship with Holy Communion on Christmas Day at 10 a.m.

Invite your friends and family.

All are Invited – December 14 – Christmas Program Sunday

Christmas Program 2014 Group song 1


The 2014 Sunday School Children’s Christmas Program is currently in rehearsals.  The children and adults are working faithfully to prepare for this annual presentation.  This is always a fantastic program and we are thankful for the leaders, musicians and cast who make it happen each year.  All are invited to attend worship on December 14 as these young people present the good news that Jesus Christ is born.

Worship at 9:00 a.m. – the program will be the Word of God on this day, replacing the readings and sermon.  Holy Communion will be offered as usual.

~10:15 a.m. – Jesus’ Birthday and Christmas Brunch pot luck.  All are invited to this new tradition of MLLC.  We will gather in the Fellowship Hall for this special event.  Please know that this is for all ages and it was very well attended last year.

Here are some photos of the rehearsals on November 23.

Microphones and props were set up for use:

Christmas Program 2014 Mics

The scripts were distributed:

Christmas Program 2014 title

Youth of various ages were in place for their roles both at the altar and in the balcony:

Christmas Program 2014 Back

Props for the songs were ready for use:

Christmas Program 2014 props


We look forward to seeing you at worship and the Christmas Brunch on December 14th.

The 12 Days of Christmas, and then Epiphany

Nativity Olive Wood

by Pastor David Tinker

Martin Luther Lutheran Church

Carmine, Texas

When are the 12 Days of Christmas?

The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season.  These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6). There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas. One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5. The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6.  “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6. Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas

Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.

— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus.  Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.

— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..”  Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed.  Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses.  Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.

— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions.  One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.

— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.

— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.

— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas.  Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.

— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time.  You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.


Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas

December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.  Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7

December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist.  Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.

December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs.  Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.

January 1 – The Name of Jesus.  On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day.  Read about this in Luke 2:21.  This is when his name was announced in a public way.

The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6

‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’ — Isaiah 9:2

The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus.  It is much more.  When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Epiphany is the manifestation or showing of Jesus to the world.  The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.  This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers.  In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.

Celebrating the Epiphany of our Lord

— Attend worship on Sunday, January 4, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.

— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew chapter 2

— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

— Pray for the Church around the world.

— Host an Epiphany Party.

— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) — Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”

— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh

The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is. The Magi offer gold, a possession of kings; frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God; and myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests. By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child: the king before whom nations will bow down, the anointed high priest of God, and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve.

Christmas Boxes for Houston Seafarers

Christmas Boxes 2014 working

A caring tradition of MLLC was revived this year.  The Lutheran Men in Mission of MLLC resumed filling and distributing Christmas Boxes for the Port of Houston Seafarers.  This had been done by the Men in Mission of MLLC for several years in the past, but the practice was set aside for a few years.   In 2014 we resumed the preparation of Christmas Boxes.  Check out this link to learn more about what our chaplains at the Port of Houston do for the seafarers from around the world.

During the past few months people of MLLC have been donating items for the boxes.  On December 1 the men and friends worked together to pack and then wrap the boxes.

Christmas Boxes 2014 Carol

Christmas Boxes 2014 filling

Christmas Boxes 2014 boxes

On Thursday, December 4, these 34 Christmas boxes were brought to the port chaplains office for distribution.  Pastor David Tinker and his son presented the boxes to Chaplain Lacey Largent.  By the time our boxes arrived another 5,500 boxes had been donated.  The expected total for 2014 is about 11,000.  Check out the photos of scenes from around the Seafarers Center.

Christmas Boxes 2014 out front

Christmas Boxes 2014 chapel

Christmas Boxes 2014 nativity

Christmas Boxes 2014 rec room

Christmas Boxes 2014 sign inside

Our boxes were immediately packed up for delivery to the next ship in the port.

Christmas Boxes 2014 Off to ship

Thank you very much for donating to this cause.  Thank you to all the team who put these together for delivery to our seafarer friends who visit the port at this time of year.