The Candy Cane: A Sweet
Reminder of Our Lord

By Jim Day

 

    With Christmas just a few days away, I thought I would once again share this sermon with our readers.  I first heard it presented by the former Pastor of West County Assembly of God Church, John Wilson.  It’s one of my favorite messages and well worth sharing with your family, friends and everyone else you come in contact with during the holidays – or year round for that matter.

    Holding up a candy cane, Pastor Wilson started out by telling the audience that there are a lot of “fake candy canes” on the market today.  Fakes he said come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, tastes and sizes.  The size of the cane, according to Pastor Wilson, doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.  However, the color, shape, flavor and number of stripes on the cane separate the real thing from impostors.
    Authentic candy canes are shaped like a shepherd’s crook with a white background.  They have one wide red stripe, two or more thin red stripes, and must have a peppermint flavor.  Any other candy cane not having these exact characteristics is an impostor.

    So, what’s so special about real candy canes?  Let’s take a closer look at this traditional Christmas treat and see.

    As mentioned earlier, authentic candy canes must be shaped like a shepherd’s crook or staff.  Shepherds use their staffs to this day to nudge straggling sheep, gather strays, ward off predators and separate their goats from their sheep.  Christ Jesus is our Shepherd.  He came to Earth to save His lost sheep and one day, when we least expect it, He will return to gather His flock and separate the goats from the sheep.  His sheep will spend eternity with Him while the goats will be forever separated from His joy and love and spend eternity in pain and suffering.  In addition to being shaped like a shepherd’s crook, if you turn a candy cane upside down, it becomes a “J” for Jesus.

    The dominant color of a true candy cane is white.  White, of course, has always stood for purity.  Jesus was the unblemished, pure and perfect sacrificial Lamb for our sins.  The white background of the candy cane represents His purity.

    Spiraling around the full length of an authentic candy cane are one wide and two or more narrow red stripes.  Red is the color of blood.  The wide red stripe on the cane is there to remind us of the blood which Jesus shed on Calvary’s cross for our sins.  Without His precious blood, His sacrifice, we would have no hope of redemption from our sins.

    The thin stripes represent the stripes from the scourging which Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers before He was crucified (Matthew 27:26).  They also serve to remind us that “…by His scourging (stripes) we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

    Authentic candy canes are peppermint flavored.  Peppermint is a member of the Hyssop family of plants.  Throughout biblical times, hyssop was used in certain Hebraic purification rites.  Hyssop branches were used to apply the lambs blood to the lintel and door posts on the eve of Passover (Exodus 12:22), and it was a hyssop branch that was used to lift the sponge, soaked with sour wine, to Jesus’ lips while He hung on the cross. (John 19:29)

    Candy canes are always a great gift to give or receive.  Generally speaking, no one eats a whole candy cane in one bite; they’re usually broken to share with a friend or loved one.  God our Father in heaven gave us the greatest gift ever, His Son Jesus, Whose heart was broken at Calvary.  Our greatest commission is to share Him with others (Matthew 28:19‑20).  So, when you share your candy cane with others, let it be as a reminder that we should be sharing the love of our Lord with others as well.

    The next time you give or receive a candy cane, remember what it represents.  Remember the greatest gift of all, Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior.  This Christmas and in the coming New Year remember to share His love and message of salvation with others.  It’s the most important gift you can give anyone!