It is thought that Candy Canes came about when a choirmaster went to a candy-maker for candy sticks to keep the choir children quiet during a living nativity scene during the Christmas celebration. He asked the candy maker to bend the usual white sticks of candy into the shape of shepherd staffs in order to teach the children about how the shepherd used them in care of the sheep. By doing so, he gained a two fold benefit, using the candy canes to keep the children quiet while licking them during the service and by using them to teach an aspect of the Christmas story.
The shape of a shepherd staff is used to help guide the sheep, whether to guide them to better pasture or to keep them from harm. It's a shape still used today as you can see in this photo that I took in England last year.
Jesus is often called the Good Shepherd and so the crook of the candy cane reminds us of that.
I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rad and your staff they comfort me."
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd; I know my own, and my own know me.
John 12: 14
Originally, candy canes were simply white. The red and white stripes of the candy cane are thought to have originated in Sweden at a much later date. Today, the colors are also used to teach about Jesus. The red reminds us of the Blood of Jesus, which we have previously talked about.
The white reminds us of the purity we have once we have been cleansed by the forgiveness of God.
The peppermint flavor reminds of of the Wise Men's gift of spices to Jesus.
And lastly, the stripes can remind us of the "stripes" or lashings that Jesus suffered for our sakes prior to his crucifixion.
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I've been working on turning my blog into Blurb Books so that I have a lasting record! The first three have arrived!
It's satisfying to see all the hard work of keeping the blog all these years, now in print!