A week ago my daughter, Avery, came home from a church LEAD team party bubbling with stories of her friends.  She had a candy cane in hand and showed me the card with a poem about candy canes.  I’m sure you’ve seen it:

Look at the Candy Cane
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me
White is for my Savior
Who’s sinless and pure!
“J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Turn it around
And a staff you will see
Jesus my shepherd
Was born for Me!

They had a discussion about the real meaning of Christmas and what the season was about using the candy cane as a teaching tool.

At the end, she said a kid asked, “What does the peppermint mean?”

Which I thought was interesting that he asked that.  As I’ve mentioned in several other posts (here, here, and here,) I very frequently will smell fragrances/odors that are an indication of spirits that are operating.  (Yes, it’s weird . . . but it’s true.)

I don’t always know what the scent means, but sometimes I do either from someone else confirming it or through repeated situations.

And mint is one scent I know absolutely, positively what it means.

MINT = SALVATION

When I smell mint, I know that the presence of the Holy Spirit is there to convict to the saving knowledge of Jesus.

I’m sure that wasn’t the intent of the original candy manufacturer, but it is a cool coincidence.

History of the Candy Cane

So I decided to research the history of the candy cane.

One of the first articles I happened across was one extremely hostile toward Christianity on Snopes.  But the Wikipedia article actually had multiple references that agreed on the origin.

In 1670, a song leader of a church in Cologne, Germany, was at his wit’s end trying to maintain some semblance of order with the children during the living nativity in their worship service.

Kids, Christmas, and animals in church.  What do you expect?   All sorts of exciting things can happen.

He had to find a way to calm the chaos.

So he did what every other adult that is not the parent does with children to keep them quiet . . . he gave them sugar.

But he was smart about it.   He didn’t just hand candy out in church . . . he knew the parents, and probably the pastor, just would not go for that at all.

Instead he went to the candy maker and asked them instead of making it a regular straight stick of candy, to put a hook at the end to represent the shepherd’s crook, thus tying it in with the nativity scene.

Huge, HUGE hit.

Churches across Germany began to also hand out candy canes during the nativity scene and it gradually spread to other areas of Europe.

Candy Canes and Chaos

The story of the kids, Christmas, and candy canes reminded me of Robert Fulghum.  He was a minister for many years, but he is best known for his essay, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Some of the funniest stories in his book by the same title and “It was on Fire When I Laid Down on It” are just about that, the ridiculous situations that occur when you combine all three.

So I just happened to go to his web site to see what he was up to.  And he had just happened to have posted a story about candy canes and chaos.

Or more specifically, about a little boy who is in the middle of stirring up turmoil and chaos . . . insistent on having his own way RIGHT NOW . . . and his mother stemming the tide, stopping that spirit of chaos in its tracks, through love.

And he ends the account with this:

“Bobby, you have earned a time out . . .”

It’s been a wild, stressful year for me – not bad, just manic.
Lots of big changes.
Pulling a full load for a long way.
Leaving me physically and mentally drained, and generally edgy.

Ready to fall on the floor and come unglued in the cheese aisle.

(Maybe somebody should drop me on my head . . . but don’t throw me in the cheese display – what I want isn’t in there, dammit.)

Bobby, you’ve earned a time out . . . I said to me.

But who is going to take me in their arms, hug me, and make it all better?

That would be me, I guess.

And I thought, Bobby you don’t need cheese, you need candy canes.

And that’s what I got.

 Waging Peace

I totally understand how he feels . . . but I don’t think candy canes are the cure.

I’ve been in times where I’ve been under extreme and extended stress and it took a long time to come out of it.  So I try to recognize when it threatens.

But it’s easy to get sucked into things, overwhelmed with life, and pulled into drama that isn’t your own.

Also, as Craig Reynolds said in a sermon on the Beatitudes, when Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” he wasn’t referring to those who sit passively by not saying anything because they don’t want to deal with the drama.

We don’t get kudos for saying “Peace, peace” when there is no peace or being codependent enablers.

We are supposed to wage peace.

There have been situations where I feel like I constantly have to fight against the chaos.

But sometimes it gets tiring, and overwhelming, and I wonder, “Why does no one else seem to have a problem with this?  Why is this just passively accepted?”  And I think that is the most discouraging part about it.

Because chaos is NOT from God.

And that has been the lesson of the week.

Conquering Chaos:  A Baby Boy

It wasn’t until yesterday morning that I realized that it isn’t actually my fight, because the battle is already won.  I was listening to my Christmas playlist yesterday morning, and this ended up being my theme song for the day . . . the song that helped me realize that.

Baby Boy Video – For King and Country

 Amazon

Baby Boy Lyrics – For King and Country

If you told me all about your sorrows
I’d tell you about a cure
If you told me you can’t fight the battle
There’s a Baby Boy who won the war
The war was won by a Baby Boy

Alleluia, we can sing it
Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

Oh, before that silent night
No Savior and no Jesus Christ
The world cried out so desperately
And the Baby Boy was the reply,
Yes, Heaven’s reply was a baby boy

Alleluia, we can sing it
Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

See, the King is coming down
And He’s here without a crown
The Baby Boy without a bed
Giving life back to the dead
And hear the angels shout it out
As the people come and bow.
Unexpected majesty
Alleluia, what a King

Alleluia, we can sing it
Alleluia, Heaven’s ringing
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

Alleluia, we can sing it!
Alleluia, yeah, Heaven’s ringing!
Alleluia!
Endless hope and relentless joy started with a Baby Boy

 

Yes, endless hope and relentless joy are ours because Jesus already won it for us on the cross.

 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.  ~ John 14:27 NLT