The Candy Cane
The candy cane represents one of the oldest symbols of Christmas, the
shepherd's crook, for the shepherds were among the first to experience
that first Christmas.
The colors of the candy cane have special meaning, too. The wide red
stripe represents the sacrifice of Christ, "For by his stripes we are
healed." The narrow red stripes represent our own sacrifices (giving). The
white stripe is a symbol of purity.
The peppermint plant is a member of the hyssop family, referred to in the
Old Testament as a medicinal herb used for cleansing.
As you eat your candy cane, you might want to break it, as Christ's body
was broken for you, and share it with a friend, thus sharing in the
sweetness of the true meaning of Christmas.
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas tree, which is an evergreen with it's boughs stretched
toward heaven, reminds us of the everlasting life that Christ came to bring
sinners. The candles or lights on the tree remind us that Jesus is the light
of the world. This surely is what Martin Luther envisioned back in 1535
when he cut and decorated the first Christmas tree for his children. Prince
Albert carried the Christmas tree custom from Germany to Windsor Castle
in 1841. Ten years later, a Cleveland minister was accused of sacrilege and
idolatry when he put up the first American tree. But a young child saw it
right. "Mother", he whispered, "the pastor's got a tree from heaven!"
There are many stories of how the legend of Santa Claus began. My
favorite story says that the modern Santa finds his origin in a young pastor
named Nicholas. His parents died when he was still a boy, leaving him a
fortune. He loved the Lord and cared deeply for those in need. Not wanting
to receive any glory himself, he went secretly, during the night, to the
homes of poor families. There he left gifts and money because of his love
The holly leaves and berries from the holly bush are widely used in holiday
decorations. The sharp pointy edges of the holly leaf remind us of the
crown of thorns that Jesus wore upon his brow. The red berries remind us
of the blood that Jesus shed.
Not all songs that we sing at Christmas time are carols. Most songs sung in
church or by church choirs are actually hymns. Centuries ago, a carol was a
group dance accompanied by a joyful song. Gradually it came to mean the
song itself. A carol became a happy melody that anyone could sing.
Caroling still means singing songs of joy but more than that it means
singing the beautiful songs about the most joyous news that men have ever
Some of these stories came from a wonderful book titled "Family Celebrations" by
Ann Hibbard. This book contains stories and ideas for keeping Christ in all your
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