The Candy Cane

Deb Goolsby

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."  Psalm 23:1

Everywhere we look today we see the candy cane, whether it be as a decoration or maybe a favorite treat. This made me wonder what we know about the long time tradition of the candy cane.  There are several stories about the history and meaning of the candy cane.  I don’t know if they are true, but what I do know is that the candy cane can teach us a few things about the true meaning of Christmas.

If you hold the candy cane with the hook at the bottom, you see the letter J.  Jesus starts with the letter J, so that reminds us of Jesus and it helps us to remember that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.

If you look at the candy cane with the hook at the top, you then see a shepherd’s staff or crook.  Shepherds use this crook to keep the sheep from wandering away from the flock and getting lost.  The scriptures say in Psalm 23:1 that “The Lord is my shepherd.”  The candy cane should remind us that Jesus is our shepherd and that He will keep us from wandering away and getting lost or hurt.

I have made many trips over to Logan’s Candies store in Ontario during the Christmas season and watched as the owner of the store demonstrates the making of the candy cane, and while he is demonstrating the pulling of the taffy. He explains that the white part of the candy is a symbol of purity and how Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God and that He came to be the sacrifice for our sin.  He also explains that the candy cane has three red stripes. These stripes remind us of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross so we could have eternal life. The candy is also hard to remind us that Jesus is the solid rock and that all of God’s promises are solid.

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” Matthew 7:24

To many people, the candy cane is a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time and just a piece of candy decorating our tree, or to enjoy it as a special treat to eat.  This is the time that parents can take the opportunity to share more about the true meaning of Christmas with our children and give them a visual that will remind them who Jesus is and that He came to be born for us and eventually take our sins to the cross. While you are sharing this special moment, give your child 2 candy canes, encouraging them to enjoy the first one and then encourage them to give one to a friend and help them to tell the story to that friend.

“Heavenly Father, thank you that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who keeps us from harm.  Thank you that because of His suffering and death on the cross, we can have eternal life.  Help us to remember that we find the true meaning of Christmas in HIM.”

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