Legend has it (according to Google) that in 1670 a choirmaster named Mr. Schildhaus, who conducted young singers at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany decided to entice them to remain quiet during the Living Creche ceremony (dialogue only, no singing) by awarding them with a stick of homemade sugar candy. On a whim, and in honor of the occasion, he bent the candies into shepherds’ crooks. To learn how the crooked candy cane gets filled with a peppermint stripe, click the website below, next click the peppermint picture, then watch the 2 minute Youtube video.
THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN…
Well, I had a short conversation with the Holy Spirit and He revealed to me that human beings are not the only ones who use a cane for correction and sweet morsels to pacify. He reminded me of something God set in order before the beginning of time.
For it is written in Exodus 30:23 (RS Version) the manner in which the Israelites should atone for their sins against God. The statute explains how the Israelites were to take their finest spices and perfumes (including cane) and mix them with olive oil and anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so that they might serve God as his priests. God himself refers back to this particular form of atonement when he reprimands his people Israel when they were unfaithful:
“You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. You have not bought the sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins. You have wearied me with your iniquities.” Isaiah 43:23-24 Revised Standard Version
So, during this Yuletide Season, let us all remember how closely connected our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is aligned to the Evergreen tree (they nailed Him to a tree); to the newly born (the manner in which He entered the world and the state we must become (as a little child) to receive all of His glorious wonders); the elaborate gifts (we were bought with a price); His journey into Egypt (our life of darkness prior to seeing the light); His journey out of Egypt and baptism into His ministry; our journey out of darkness and baptism by the gift of the Holy Spirit readying us for discipleship; and finally the sweet aroma of the cane preferred by God as an atonement for disobedience; and our penchant for the taste of sweet peppermint to remind us that Jesus is the reason for the season.
ALLOW GOD TO BLESS YOU WITH MORE AND MORE OF HIM…
Finally, my friends, my prayer for you today is that you all rediscover Christmas anew. When you dress up in your ugly Christmas sweaters, be reminded to unravel the ugliness that is harbored deep down in your souls. Also, when you wrap those Christmas gifts to send to loved ones, remember to also wrap hope in sunshine and allow your message to penetrate somebody’s dark cloud of despair. And last but not least, when in that shopping check-out line, look backwards into the basket behind you, lift out an item and ask if you can be a blessing today with God’s goodness (even if it means you putting something of yours back on the shelf). Become a candy cane with a sweet aroma and a sweet taste in the mouth of someone to lift the spirits of a total stranger. Amen!
Scripture Lesson: Isaiah 9:6
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