Who uses a cane?
A visually-challenged person uses a cane to help keep him from danger in life.
A handicapped person uses a cane to help maneuver through life and its obstacles.
A shepherd uses a cane to keep his sheep from harm and to defend them from wolves.
During the Christmas season, we see a very familiar type of cane—one made of candy—an emblem specifically created to help celebrate the birth of Christ.
Where did this legend begin?
An Indiana candy maker wanted to make a candy that would stand as a witness to Jesus’ birth. He sought to incorporate the symbols of His birth, ministry and death into his work.
He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White symbolized the Virgin Birth and the pure, sinless nature of Jesus (II Peter 3:14). The hardness represented our Lord as the solid rock (Luke 6:48-49), the firm foundation of His church and the solidarity of the promises in His Word (Matthew 16:18).
He then formed the candy into the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus. It also represents the staff of the Good Shepherd, which reaches into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs which have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).
Feeling that his candy cane was still rather plain, the candy maker stained it with three red stripes to represent the stripes of Jesus’ scourging. It is by His stripes that we are healed (I Peter 2:24). Whenever you see the red on a candy cane, think of the precious blood Jesus shed for your soul (I Peter 1:19).
To most people, however, the candy cane is simply a yuletide decoration. But the original meaning remains crystal clear for those who know its origin and legend.
Like His Incarnation, candy is sweet to our taste. His words are sweet II Peter 1:4) and we should enjoy them as we enjoy His living presence—not only at Christmas—but every day we live.