Sharing the Christmas Story with the Legend of the Candy Cane
(Recommended for kindergarten through fifth grade)
If time allows you could read the book The Legend of the Candy Cane, written by Lori Walburg. This book is a sweet book, which tells the story of the candy maker, John Sonneman, who is new to town. A curious little girl, Lucy, visits him, helps him unpack and then discovers a new candy, the candy cane. He explains the candy cane and they together give each family in the town a candy cane for Christmas.
(recommended for kindergarten and first grade)
(Turn it upside down) J is for Jesus, who was born on Christmas day. (Turn it upright) What does it remind you of? Who was the first to find out about Jesus’ birth? (After hearing their answers) The shepherds in the field watching their flocks at night were the first to hear the angels. This represents the shepherd’s crook that they used to herd sheep.
Do you see the stripes? The Bible says, “By his stripes we are healed.
See the red stripe? Before he died on the cross, Jesus was whipped. He bled terribly. The red reminds us of His suffering and the blood He shed for us. Red also reminds us how much He loves us. What is the color of the hearts we send on Valentines Day? Red!
See the white stripe? The white is there because we often do bad things leaving us “dirty” inside. Christians believe when Jesus died, He took on Himself the punishment for our bad things. This leaves us “clean”, white inside.
So when you eat your candy canes this Christmas remember J is for Jesus.
(recommended for second through fifth grade)
Just give presentation #1 and add this paragraph after talking about the stripes:
What flavor is a candy cane? Yes, it is peppermint. Peppermint is a spice similar to hyssop. Hyssop is an herb used in the Bible for healing. Christians believe that Jesus can heal the inside of us He changes us from wanting to live bad to wanting to live good lives.
Presentation # 3
(can be read or you can print it on a card to tie it to the candy canes as a leaving piece)
THE STORY OF THE CANDY CANE MAKER
There once was a candy maker who wanted to make a candy that would be very special for Christmas. He decided to make a candy cane because he knew he could include a lot of signs and symbols to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. He used white as a symbol that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary who was always so pure and holy. He made it hard and crunchy to symbolize the solid rock on which the church is founded.
He bent over the top of the candy cane to make a hook like a shepherd’s staff. He remembered that Jesus called himself “The Good Shepherd” The candy maker remembered too that the first people who come to worship Jesus at the manger after he was born were shepherds. Then the candy maker looked at his candy cane and thought it looked a little plain. “It needs some color,” he said. Something red,” he thought. “That will give it Christmas look!” So, he began to stain the white candy cane with red stripes. First, he put on three thin red stripes. You see, he remembered that Jesus went through terrible torture before he died and was whipped across his back. The candy maker decided that the red stripes on the candy cane would remind everybody that Jesus shed his blood for us when he died on the cross on Good Friday.
The candy maker was doing well with his candy cane. He had a lot signs of Jesus in there but he wasn’t satisfied. Then he began to pray, “Dear Jesus, help me to make my candy cane show the true meaning of Christmas.” Then suddenly the candy cane slipped from his hands. It fell upside down on the floor. When he looked, he noticed that the candy cane was no longer a candy cane, but it was the letter “J”. It stands for “Jesus.” Jesus is really what Christmas is all about.
A Candy Maker’s Witness
A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas candy cane. He incorporated several symbol for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.
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 world.
Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ.
In years to come the candy became known only as a candy cane – a meaningless decoration. But the meaning is still there for those who know. I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness TO THE WONDER OF JESUS AND HIS GREAT LOVE that came down at Christmas.