Did you know you can teach about Jesus with the legend of the candy cane to your kids? Every year as Christmas nears, candy canes show up in stores and millions are purchased and consumed each year. While candy canes are no doubt delicious, they are more than just a pretty, tasty sweet to enjoy around Christmas.
The legend of the candy cane shows that the candy cane was designed to be a delicious reminder of what Christmas is all about – Jesus. While there are several similar legends surrounding the candy cane, here is one of my favorites.
The Legend of The Candy Cane
According to the legend of the candy cane, this candy was first created back in the 18th century. At that time, in certain areas of Europe, there was said to be a ban on public displays of Christianity. Christians were oppressed and no Bibles or crosses could be owned at the time. One man found this oppression distressing and wished he could share the love of Jesus and the joy of Christmas with the rest of the world. When Christmas came around, children didn’t get to see nativity scenes or enjoy learning about the truth of Christmas. As a candy maker, this man prayed to find a way that he could offer local children a Christmas gift that would allow him to communicate the real story of Christmas.
His prayer led to an idea--The Candy Cane.
- The Shepherd's Staff: He chose to make the candy cane in the shape of a shepherd’s staff. After all, Jesus is the shepherd to his followers and the Bible notes that the “sheep” would hear His voice and follow him (Psalm 23:1, John 10:11, John 10:27-30, Isaiah 40:11).
- The Letter J for Jesus:Not only was the candy cane in the shape of a staff, but when held upside down, it formed a “J,” which stood for Jesus (Luke 1:31, Matthew 1:21).
- He is A Rock: The candy maker chose hard candy for the candy cane, which was done to remind children that Jesus was our “rock,” dependable and strong (Psalm 31:3).
- By His Stripes: Wide red stripes were added to the candy cane, representative of the crucifixion and the blood Jesus shed for our sins.
- Red-His Shed Blood: Through his blood, we are given salvation and life (Revelation 1:5, John 3:16, Luke 22:20).
- White-Purification from Sin: There are also white stripes on the candy cane, which represents the holiness, and purity of Jesus, who was sinless (I John 1:7).
- Sweet Fragrance of Christ: Peppermint was the flavor that the candy maker chose for the candy cane. Peppermint was very similar to hyssop, which was used for sacrifice and purification in the Old Testament, reminding us of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. It also reminds us of the spices brought by the Wise Men when they came to visit Jesus (Psalm 51:7, John 10:29, Matthew 2:11).
- Broken For Us: Of course, when the candy cane is eaten, it is often broken, which the candy maker meant as a reminder that when Jesus was crucified, his body was broken (I Cor. 11:24).
- Love of Christ: The candy cane was also made to be given as a gift, representing the love of Jesus when he gave us the gift of salvation.
Although no one is quite sure if the legend of the candy cane is really true, the beauty of the legend is such a reminder of God’s love for us around Christmas. In this legend, it was a way that the candy maker could tell the children the story of Christmas and still today, we have candy canes as a reminder of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.
In our family we love the book The Candymaker's Gift - The Legend of The Candy Cane by David Haidel to help reinforce this story. If you would like to try doing a fun candy cane party or start teaching your kids through the lessons of the candy cane, you can click over to my blog--Denise In Bloom today for a FREE Printable. The printable includes scriptures and spiritual meanings behind the candy cane so you can share the legend with others this season. As a bonus, I also included a recipe for homemade candy canes if you would like to make your own!
I hope you enjoy teaching your kids about the Legend of the Candy Cane and instilling some Christ-centered focus for Christmas this year.
Merry Christmas! From Denise at Denise In Bloom