According to a folklore, in 1670, in Cologne, Germany, the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral, wishing to remedy the noise caused by children in his church during the Living Crèche tradition of Christmas Eve, asked a local candy maker for some “sugar sticks” for them.
In order to justify the practice of giving candy to children during worship services, he asked the candy maker to add a crook to the top of each stick, which would help children remember the shepherds who visited the Infant Jesus. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. A God Touch
He began with a stick of pure white hard candy: white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church and firmness of the promises of God.
The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. 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.
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes for the blood shed by Christ on the cross, so that we could have the promise of eternal life.
Unfortunately, the candy became known as the Candy Cane – a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for all those who have “eyes to see and ears to hear”. We pray this symbol will again be used to witness to the wonder of Jesus and His great love that came down at Christmas.
The next time you look at or hold a Candy Cane, take a few moments to consider its spiritual meaning. Be sure to explain the spiritual meaning to the children around you.