I gave a candy cane to a homeless man yesterday.  You would have thought I had given him a bar of gold.  The man, probably in his 60’s, was standing at an intersection holding a cardboard sign asking for donations.  I do not usually give money to people who do this because I have seen tv documentaries about how they are often part of a scam.  However, something tugged at my heart. “The voice that speaks to me inside my head” (God) said, “Oh, come on.  Give him a dollar – and a candy cane.”   Oh, yes, a candy cane, of course!  Now that excited me.  I give away candy canes at Christmas as a personal ministry (more about this below).  The man began thanking me as he approached my car.  Then, he saw the candy cane, and his face lit up with the biggest smile. Then he really started thanking me!  “Oh, thank you, thank you!” he said excitedly. He looked down at the candy cane then back up at me, still smiling, and amazed, as if I had given him a great fortune. My heart melted.  “You’re welcome. God bless you,” I said.  “And God bless you!” he replied. The traffic light turned green.  We waved at each other as I drove away. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a special friend.

It made me happy to do something that meant so much for the homeless man.  However, the encounter also made me sad.  What hardships had this man endured that made something as simple as a mini candy cane so meaningful?  Did the candy cane evoke special memories, or was it the gesture of kindness?  Thank You, Lord, for telling me to give this man a candy cane. 

Several years ago I started Candy Cane Crusaders for Christ.  It began when I learned that stores and businesses were forbidding employees from saying “Merry Christmas” to customers.  This angered me.  Retailers are eager to capitalize on our Christmas spending, but do not want to acknowledge Christ (the true reason for Christmas) because acknowledging Jesus could be offensive to some.   Well, I thought, the employees might not be able to say “Merry Christmas” to me, but I can say it to them!  Remembering the Legend of the Candy Cane, the story about how the candy cane was created as a way of witnessing for Jesus, I decided that not only would I say, “Merry Christmas,” I would also hand out candy canes.

At first I just gave candy canes to those who helped me when shopping, cashiers, workers at drive-up windows, etc., always saying “Merry Christmas.”  Then I started giving them randomly to people I see throughout my day – kids I catch being good, fussy children who could use something to cheer them, grumpy grown-ups who also need cheer, strangers, friends, children at church, etc.   It is amazing how even the crankiest of cashiers will cheer up when they hand me my receipt and I give them a mini candy cane saying, “Here, this is for you.  Merry Christmas!”  Teens get excited, too.  It’s cute.  Yesterday a 20-something young man said the candy cane made his day.

Sometimes I attached a copy of the Candy Cane poem to the candy canes, too.  (See below.) We have done this not only for the everyday candy canes I hand out, but also for various charities and outreach programs.

As a Candy Cane Crusader for Christ, my purse is packed with mini candy canes.  I am armed and cane-gerous, trying to share the love of Christ at Christmas.  Want to join those already sharing candy canes in the name of Christ?  It is easy to do.  Just stock up on mini candy canes, pray that they will bless those who receive them, and give them away throughout your day, always saying, “Merry Christmas!”

CANDY CANE POEM: You can use the poem below, or send me an email and I will reply with a document of the poem ready to be cut into tags.      ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com

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 is sinless and pure!

“J” is for Jesus, my Lord, that’s for sure!

Turn it around and a staff you will see,

Jesus, the Shepherd,  born for you and me!

 

CHRISTmas blessings to all!

Renee

 

 

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