Yesterday we started a series looking at the lyrics to the song “A Song and a Christmas Tree” (Andy Williams’ spin on “Twelve Days of Christmas”). You can take each of the twelve gifts given in the song and find spiritual application.

The second gift given is “two candy canes.” Do you know the history of the candy cane?

There are a lot of myths and legends floating around it. For example it is said that the white and red strips represent the purity (white) and blood (red) of Jesus, and that the “cane” shape is actually a “J” for “Jesus.” Also the peppermint flavor is closely associated with the taste of “hyssop” which was used in Old Testament ceremonies for purification purposes.

All that is well and good but those connections were not intentional.

The candy cane actually dates back to Europe of the 1600’s, when children would often eat sugary candy sticks. In those days also, it was common for food to be the primary decorative on Christmas trees. One day the bishop of the Cologne Cathedral in Germany bent some sugar sticks into the shame of a shepherds cane, and passed them out to the children to hang on their Christmas trees. The bend of the canes made them perfect for dangling from the branches of their trees, but they were also intended to remind the children of Jesus (the shepherd and chief bishop of our souls, according to 1 Peter 2:25).

Next time you grab one, be reminded that the Lord is your Shepherd and with His cane He guides and protects you.