Candy Canes

A Tradition-ful Advent:

Candy Canes

A Little History:

No one exactly know where the candy cane got started or who invented it.  We have little bits and pieces of history that leave us clues like a trail of bread crumbs, but the stories tend to have more imagination than facts.  The most common belief is that the candy cane actually got their start from straight white sugar sticks that were used as pacifiers.  We think they originated in Germany about 250 years ago.  One story says that a choirmaster, in 1670, was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet.  It’s probably not true, but it paints a funny picture when we think about giving sugar to kids to keep them still and quiet. Eventually they were given the “hook” at the top, possibly to make them easier to hang on the Christmas tree, maybe to look like a shepherds hook. Sometime around 1900 the red stripes were added and they were flavored with peppermint or wintergreen.

The Connection:

Turn a candy cane upside down and you have a “J” for Jesus.  Turn the candy cane over and you have a shepherd’s hook, to remind us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

The red of the candy cane reminds us that Jesus shed His blood for us, and the white reminds us of Christ’s sinless life.  The stripes remind us of Jesus’ suffering, his blood shed for us and the reason he came, that “by his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Verse(s) to Remember:

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me –  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. ” John 10:14-15

Ideas to Make it Stick:

  • Eat a candy cane
  • Make candy cane cookies
  • Craft a candy cane bead ornament
  • Read the book The Legend of the Candy Cane

Please feel free to share with friends and leave comments…  Do you have other connections between the tradition and the heart of the holiday?  Creative ideas to make it stick?  I’d love to know what you and your family do with this!

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