The Story Behind the Candy Cane

Advent stories and messages from around the world

December 8, 2021

The story behind the Candy Cane

Isaiah 53:2-9; Matthew 27:27-31

As Christmas approaches, there is quite a bit of baking and candy-making being done. My favorite Christmas cookie (some don’t consider it one) is an oatmeal raisin. Many folks like sugar cookies with sprinkles, almond crescent’s, and others prefer Pfeffernüsse.

There’s Hershey’s chocolate kisses, peppermint bark, caramel corn, and of course, candy canes on the candy side.

There’s a lot of history behind the candy cane’s origin. Here’s the story I told kids during my children’s message for 25 years.

There’s a story that is told; about 100 years ago, a candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a type of candy that would be a witness for his Savior, Jesus. So, he made the Christmas candy cane.

He put together some symbols in the candy cane that would remind us of the birth, life, and death of Jesus.

First, he made the candy cane white to symbolize the virgin birth and the sinlessness of Jesus.

Secondly, he made it hard to show the Solid foundation of the church and the firmness of the promises of God.

Third, he made it in the form of the letter J, to represent Jesus’ precious name, who came to earth as our Savior, and when you turn it over, what does it look like? It’s the staff of the Good Shepherd, Jesus.

Then he decided to stain it red. So, he put a broad red stripe on the candy cane. Why do you think he did that? (It represents the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross for our salvation.)

Finally, he put the 3 small stripes on the candy cane? What do you think the 3 small stripes are for? (They remind us of the scourging or whipping Jesus received before He was crucified.)

(Remember when you purchase candy canes, not all have the one broad and three small stripes on the – Bob’s Candy Canes always do)


Scourged, whipped, despised, and finally crucified for our sins. It’s slightly easier to read those words when we tie them into the candy cane story. Now take a look at what Jesus went through for us as you:

Read the words of Isaiah

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind,

a man of suffering and familiar with pain.

Like one from whom people hide their faces

he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely, he took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered him punished by God,

stricken by him and afflicted.

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 wounds, we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,

so, he did not open his mouth.

    By oppression53:8 Or From arrest and judgment, he was taken away.

Yet who of his generation protested?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people, he was punished.53:8 Or generation considered / that he was cut off from the land of the living, / that he was punished for the transgression of my people?

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:2-9

We should never forget how Jesus was treated by the soldiers. Read this account from Matthew.

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him and took the staff, and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.” Matthew 27:27-31

From now on, whenever you see a candy cane, don’t just think of it as a great candy treat. Instead, let it help you to remember how Jesus is our Good Shepherd, how He suffered and died for our sins, and how much He loves all of us.

Dear Jesus. Thank you for sacrificing yourself for our sins. We are so undeserving of your sacrifice, yet you did it anyway because you love us. Jesus, we love you too. You are such a blessing to so many. Continue to bless us through your love and compassion, always. Amen

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