Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent - Waiting in Joyful Anticipation

This is truly a joyful time of the year.  We rejoice at the birth of Jesus, our Savior who was sent into the world by God the Father to free us from sin and lead us to life everlasting in heaven. This is the season for good will toward all people – a time for peace – a time for reconciliation with those with whom we have lost touch - a time for family and friends to gather together across the miles to celebrate and be reacquainted – it is also a time for reflection on the meaning of Christmas and the promise of God’s love for his people that is made manifest at Easter.

We see at this time of year, signs reminding us to Keep Christ in Christmas – on billboards, on car bumpers – I want to tell you of the original “Keep Christ in Christmas” story.

The Legend of the Candy Cane
Once upon a time a faithful disciple of Our Lord, Jesus wanted to make something to help people remember what Christmas was all about.  He thought very hard about what he could do to help people keep the mission of Jesus in mind and what his birth really means to us.

Being a candy maker he decided that he would make a candy to help people, especially children remember Christmas.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy.  White symbolized the purity of Mary’s Immaculate Conception and the virgin birth of Jesus.  It also stood for the sinless-ness and purity of Jesus. White is also the color of baptism, when we are clothed in a white garment to symbolize how our baptism makes us pure and sinless like Jesus.

The rock hard candy symbolized the rock-solid foundation of the Church, for Jesus told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.”  It also stands for the solid firmness of God’s promise to his people. His promise is never changing, never to be broken.

The disciple then put red stripes on the white candy stick to symbolize Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice on the cross.  Jesus took away our sins through his suffering and sacrifice to free us from sin and bring us to Life in heaven with God the Father.

The candy maker then made the candy into the shape of a shepherd’s staff – for Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lovingly looks after his flock; going out to search for all the lost lambs; carrying them safely back home in his arms.

And if you turn the shepherd’s staff upside down it makes the letter “J” which stands for Jesus – to further remind us of Our Lord and Savior who is the Son of God who became a man just like us – who came into the world this night as a baby; to take away our sins and bring us to Eternal Life in heaven for ever and ever.

The disciple’s simple creation became known as the Candy Cane and it is the original symbol reminding us to Keep Christ in Christmas.
And if this story isn’t true – it ought to be

So, whenever you see a Candy Cane –
W       Think of Jesus who was born on Christmas Day
W       Think of Jesus and the love of God, the Father who sacrificed his only Son to take away our sins and bring us to Eternal Life in heaven
W       Think of Jesus teaching us the Good News of God’s promise of Life everlasting and his great love for us his children.

Keep Christ in Christmas and every other day of the year
W       Keep Jesus, the Christ always:
o        W In your thoughts
o        W On your lips and
o        W In your heart
And let us rejoice and be glad for our Savior (comes) has come.

Deacon Don

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