Monday, December 5, 2011

A Jar of Candy Canes

{Written by Johanna}

It was stunning. Each twinkle light shined vibrantly under the boughs of delicious green, and each branch in turn flourished with perfect ease, making up the lovely whole of the tree. Each sparkling glow radiated within the cheeks of multiple blushing ornaments. My eyes wandered from one decoration to the next, each bringing to mind a moment from the past; for, with each, was tied a precious memory in which I reveled in often. As I finished a long gaze at the star which graced the top, I once again surveyed the entirety of the Christmas tree, yet this time something struck me as odd; something, I felt, was surely not right. Yet, what was it? 

After several moments of pondering what could be amiss, it finally became clear to me what had been missing. A jar of lonely candy canes sat silently on the window sill; the red stripes deepened in contrast to the radiating purity of the white lines. How beautiful and intense was the combination. Somehow, the spirit of Christmas seemed to emanate from their very being. 

As I hung one from the highest branch, I recalled the significance of these sweet peppermint candy's, and heaved a sigh of relief as the tree took on an even deeper meaning with the addition of the Candy Canes...

While some may disagree with this concept, I believe that Candy Cane's symbolize Jesus Christ in more ways then one. In the late 1600's a choirmaster in Germany bowed the sugar sticks to represent a shepherd's staff -- and perhaps a J for Jesus. The full story behind these peppermint candies remains a blur in history, but it has been said that a certain candy maker in Indiana developed the candy cane as a symbol of the everlasting love that Jesus has for us. While this may not be true, I believe that centering these candy's on Christ is a beautiful and effective way of focusing Christmas on Him. To me, each aspect of the candy cane is a precious mnemonic of how deep and enduring Jesus' love is for you and I. 

The red stripes tell the story of what Jesus suffered for us. Before Jesus was taken to be crucified, he was whipped severely. Lash after lash came crashing down upon his back, his flesh was torn and striped, and his blood ran freely from each wound; ran for us. In Isaiah 53:5, the prophet writes, "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed." By his suffering, we are made at peace. By his wounds being torn open, ours were bound up. By His stripes we are healed. This is the promise which the red stripes of the candy cane portrays in my heart.

The white stripes are a symbol of purity. In Ephesians 1:7, it says, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." To think that Jesus shed blood for me; endured a crown of thorns in exchange for my soul; hung on a cross that I may know how deep and unwavering is His love for me. He died so that I could live. It is simply breathtaking. The candy cane constantly reminds me that through the blood of Christ, I have been cleansed and made pure. No matter what has occurred in my life that has tarnished my being, He has made amends through sacrificing himself, and paying the cost.
Are these symbols truly what the candy cane was designed to portray? Perhaps; perhaps not. Whichever it may be, I am resolved to amalgamate the love of Christ into each one of these peppermint sticks.

This Christmas, as you enjoy the sweet yet intense taste of the candy cane, I pray you will remember the intense sacrifice Jesus made for you, in order that you may taste the sweetness of His deep love.

Celebrating baby Jesus,
-- Johanna

5 Words of Grace:

Anonymous said...

I think of the same things when looking and eating the candy cane. I love how you wrote this post. God Bless You!

Simply Scaife Family said...

This post is so beautifully written- I needed this precious reminder of His grace. I too have not yet placed the candy canes on our tree; but today, it will be my goal. Thank you again for your beautiful words!

Anonymous said...

Bethany and Johanna,
Your choices for December are all very good! Alot of the articles will be good to ponder. Thank you.
Emily J.

Emily Ruth said...

Lovely post, Miss Johanna! I love thinking about the candy cane this way...

b3 beader said...

What a lovely post! One book that I read almost every Christmas is The Legend of the Candy Cane. And it puts the story of the candy cane just as you do. The candy cane is absolutely my favorite Christmas candy if not my all-time favorite! Thank you!