Our church recently sponsored an Angel Tree event for some of the kids in our community. As part of the program, we included a special segment where a storytelling candy maker (yours truly) read ‘The Legend of the Candy Cane‘, by Lori Walburg. Here are some photos of that fun-filled afternoon.
There are a couple of stories regarding the true origins of the candy cane. In the Christian version, the candy was given a crook shape to remind us of the shepherds who were the first to visit the newborn King of the Jews. When you turn the cane upside down it resembles the letter ‘J’, which stands for Jesus, the name of the promised King. The candy was given red stripes to remind us of Jesus’ suffering and the blood He shed for our sins. And the white stripes are a symbol of the washing away of our sin through His atoning sacrifice on the cross. While this inspirational version may not be verifiable, its message of hope actually can be. It is found in God’s word, the Holy Bible.
With that in mind, I suppose a red and white barber pole can also remind us of God’s salvation and so can the White Shoal Lighthouse (pictured above and below). Built in 1910, this 124 feet tower, which is still operational, is located on a shoal in the northeasterly end of Lake Michigan. Although there are two other ‘barber pole’ style lighthouses in the US, this is the only one that is red and white or ‘candy cane striped.‘
I must admit that the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season, while hectic and exhausting, does fill the atmosphere with a sense of gratitude and joy. However, as one who has personally experienced salvation as represented by the candy cane, I can attest that the joy of knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior surpasses any pleasure available to man. Unfortunately, far too many people still can not relate to the life-changing act of love that started in a manger and ended at a cross.
Every lighthouse in the world is unique in design. Not all of them have the ‘candy cane stripes’, but they all have the same purpose; to emit a light beam that guides those who are lost at sea to safety. Likewise, we may not all look the same physically and spiritually, but we all have the same purpose; to shine God’s light and guide the spiritually lost to the saving arms of Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah foretold of Jesus’ sacrifice. He said that the Messiah would endure great pain and suffering and that by his wounds we would be saved. The scourging and other brutal punishments Jesus received resulted in the shedding of his precious blood (red stripes). The blood that still heals us by granting us forgiveness of sin and the promise of eternal life (white stripes). At Calvary’s cross, Jesus laid down His life as a ransom for all humanity. He did it to restore our broken relationship with God and allow us to experience true hope, peace, and joy. Not only during the holidays but throughout our lifetime.
Perhaps the next time you see anything with red and white stripes you will remember the story of the candy cane. Better yet, you will be reminded that it is a message that needs to be shared with everyone who is yet to know that Jesus died in order to save us!
I pray you had a wonderful Christmas. May the new year 2017 bring you closer to God and to your loved ones. Don’t forget to share the “red and white” story that is found in God’s story book (the Bible). It is verifiable not only because it is recorded therein, but because it has and continues to change millions of lives.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his stripes (wounds) we are healed (saved).” -Isaiah 53:5 (KJV)