Do you like to eat candy canes? I’ve always been a fan, because I love just about anything peppermint. I love making the peppermint chocolate bark, I love peppermint tea, peppermint hot chocolate, and peppermint candy.
When you look at a candy cane, you instantly think of Christmas. Years ago, someone penned a children’s book, The Legend of the Candy Cane, explaining how the candy cane points to the real meaning of Christmas. The candy cane dates back to 1670, when a choir director at Cologne Cathedral in Germany molded a sugar stick into the shape of a shepherd’s staff. At the time the candy sticks were all white and given out to children during the traditional nativity service to pacify them during the long services. The adding of the stripes and the peppermint flavor didn’t occur until the early 1900 in America. In the 1950s candy canes began being produced by machines rather than by the time consuming handmade process.
While the candy cane wasn’t necessarily produced to reflect Christ, through the years the different features of the candy cane have come to represent Jesus. It is said the candy cane represents a shepherd’s staff because Jesus is the Good Shepherd [John 10:11]. If you turn the candy stick upside down, it is in the shape of a “J” for Jesus [Matthew 1:21]. The three stripes of red on the candy cane are said to have two meanings. One says they represent the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19]. Another references Isaiah 53:5 that says “By His stripes we are healed.” The red stripes are symbolic of the blood of Christ that was shed for our sins [Hebrews 9:14]. The white represents the purity of Christ and the purity He offers to all who believe [Isaiah 1:18].
This Christmas when you see a candy cane, may it serve as a reminder of the One who loved you enough to peel back the curtain of heaven and come down to set you free so you could be with Him eternally [John 3:16, Hebrews 9:15]. While you’re at it, why not give away some candy canes this Christmas season and take a moment to share what they represent. Consider them the evangelism tool of Christmas.