The Christmas Candy Cane
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
There are very few things that the world has to offer at Christmas time that have any Christian significance at all. But there is one emblem of Christmas that is an exception to the rule. That is the candy cane. I have been doing some research into the candy cane and I agree with one author who states, "unquestionably, its beginnings are Christian." Early candy canes were intentionally shaped like that of a shepherds crook to remind us that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). As best as I can tell, the earliest candy canes were pure white and were invented in the 17th century. The earliest account of candy canes I have found is in about 1670. They were given to the children, to keep them quiet, while they listened to the choir and watched the ceremonies associated with the live Nativity scene at Cologne Cathedral. But what about our modern candy canes, with the red stripes? They are early 20th century in origin. I have come across several articles that indicate that these red striped Christmas Candy Cane was designed to point people to Christ.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CANDY CANE
I have read that a candymaker from Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness for Christ, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. I have not been able to find out the name of the man to date, I am thankful for his desire to witness for Christ. We all are to be witnesses for Christ. The Bible says, " ye shall be witnesses unto me " Acts 1:8. In fact in Mark 5:19 Jesus says, " Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee." We are to use every opportunity to be witnesses for Christ!
The Indiana candy maker desired that even his candy be a witness of Christ so he incorporated several symbols for the birth, life & ministry and death of Jesus Christ.
WHAT THE CHRISTMAS CANDY CANE SYMBOLIZES
The Pure White Stick of Hard Candy
He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White was used to symbolize purity. He had two aspects of purity in mind. First, the white symbolized the purity of the Virgin Birth. White has long been the symbol of sexual purity. Originally that is why a bride would walk down the aisle on her wedding day in a white wedding gown. The white dress testified that she was a virgin.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin. Lets look at the account in Luke 1:26-35. Note verse 34. Mary testifies to her virginity, her sexual purity. Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. The white of the candy cane reminds us of the Virgin Birth of Christ.
Secondly, the white of the candy cane reminds us that Christ was sinless. Christ, the God-man, lived a perfect life. He never sinned once. This is testified to in many passages of the Bible.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
1 Peter 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
Do you know why it is so important that Christ was sinless? He was sinless so that he could pay for our sins! The following verses testify to this truth
2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
1 Peter 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
The pure white in the candy cane represents the sinlessness of Christ.
The Rock-hardness of The Candy Cane
The candy cane is made of rock-hard candy and there is a reason for that. The rock symbolizes the Solid Rock (Christ) who is the foundation of the believer and the Church.
Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 1 Corinthians 3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Matthew 7:24-27 gives us a clear illustration of the stability of building our life on the Lord Jesus Christ and instability of building our lives on anything else.
The Old Testament is filled with references for the Lord being our rock. Here are just two examples.
Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
Psalms 62:2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.
The rock-hardness of the candy cane symbolizes that Christ is the solid rock of the believer's life.
The Candy Cane Forms The Letter "J"
The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. I remind you of what the Angel said to Joseph -- And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
There is no more important or powerful name in all the universe than the name Jesus. I have good reason for saying that. Turn in you Bibles to Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus Christ is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Every created being, angelic or human, will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the SUPREME SOVEREIGN and ONLY SAVIOR. Those who choose to do it now become his children by faith in His atoning death. Those who will not make that confession now will confess Jesus is Lord when they stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment, but then it will be too late. In that context, before the Great White Throne of Judgment they will be admitting that they are justly damned to the Lake of Fire because they refused to receive Christ as their Savior when they live on the earth! Confess that Jesus Is Lord NOW! Receive Him as your Savior TODAY!
The "J" of the candy cane stands for Jesus. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).
The Red Stripes On The Candy Cane
"Genuine" candy canes had three small red stripes and one large red stripe on them. There is a good reason for that. The candymaker used three stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed or saved from our sins. Isaiah 53:5 points out our Lord's punishment for our sins -- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 1 Peter 2:24 makes it clear that this is what took place -- Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the Cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life if we believe on and personally receive Him.
Revelation 1:5 says that Christ loved us, " and washed us from our sins in his own blood." As we have seen earlier, in 1 Peter 1:18-19 it is the precious blood of Jesus Christ that redeems all who believe from their sins. One of my favorite songs is Nothing But The Blood of Jesus. It goes this way: What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The three small stripes on the candy cane symbolize the whipping that Jesus took as he paid for our sins. The broad stripe symbolizes the blood Christ shed on the Cross as He died for our sins that we might be saved. Is Christ your Savior?
There you have it. The Christmas Candy Cane is a wonderful Christian Christmas symbol. The pure white symbolizes the purity of the Virgin Birth and the sinlessness of Christ. The rock-hardness symbolizes Christ the solid rock, the sure foundation of the believer. The "J" stands for JESUS the Savior, the name which is above every name. The three stripes symbolize the whipping that Jesus took as payment for our sins and the broad stripe His shed blood for our sins on the Cross.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." 2 Corinthians 9:15
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season!!!