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Saints Feast Family
~Exploring Catholic Patron Saints of the Day & their Feasts (Catholic Cuisine)
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Cookie Cutters Can Tell the Story of Christmas!

Cookie Cutters?
Yes Cookies! Fun and family friendly way to share the gift of Jesus!

Cookie Cutters Tell the Story of Christmas

By Iris Hammett, written in the 1940’s

 

It is a story, as suggested by cookie cutters, which are familiar to the younger  generation both for their utilization purpose in shaping sweets and as playthings for toddlers. This is their message as interpreted by Mrs. Iris Hammett. The oven is heated, the dough is made, and the kitchen table is spread with an array of cookie cutters. But theses are not just ordinary cookie cutters, for they have a story to tell.Three anxious little faces look on with great anticipation of receiving a sweet morsel when it is baked. Their dark eyes glisten as they listen to the story of the Christ child as each cutter tells his part.

 

First, we make an angel, for it was an angel who came to Mary and told her that she would have a baby boy and should call his name Jesus, for he would save his people from their sins.

 

Second, we make a donkey, for it was a little donkey that Mary rode intoBethlehem where the baby Jesus was to be born.

 

Third, we cut a star for the star that shone in the East to guide the Shepherds to where they would find the Baby Jesus. The wise men had seen this star in theEast and knew it told of the birth of the Savior.

 

Fourth, we cut more angels for the angels who sang Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace, good will toward men. The angels also brought the good news to the shepherds as they watched their sheep during the night. So we make candy cane cookies to represent the shepherd’s staff.

 

 Fifth, we make a camel because the wise men traveled over many miles of sandy desert on camels that they might find the young child.

Then we come to some of the cookie cutters which we can’t find in the Bible, but which have wonderful meaning by which we tell God’ s love for us.

We make a wreath for it is round and has no end, even as God ’s love has no end.He gave to us eternal life which has no end. We think of the wreath being made of evergreen and so we frost it green. The evergreen is a symbol of the eternal life which Christ bought for us on Calvary.

 

Then comes the Christmas tree, again an evergreen tree, the symbol of everlasting life. It stays green winter and summer as no other tree. It tells of the love of Christ which goes on and on, and of the eternal life which he gives us if we believe in him as our Savior.

And last of all we make the bells, for the bells ring out the glad news that a savior is born this day in the City of David.

And so, as we bake our Christmas cookies, we see the story of the Savior 's birth and purpose in our lives. What a wonderful way to gather the little ones around and tell them of God’ s love for us. As we roll and cut the dough and mold it into shape, we tell over and over the story that never grows old.

 

Then breathe a little prayer that we are molding young and pliable lives, minds,and hearts into the right form, that they might come to know and love thisChrist that was born on Christmas Day.

 

My prayer is that my children shall never forget the cookie cutters and the story they told of Jesus, His birth and purpose.Thus we keep Christ in Christmas even with the cookie cutters.

 

Christmas Candy Cane Story

Christmas Candy Canes 

The Christmas Candy Cane originated in Germany about 250 years ago. They started as straight white sugar sticks.

A story says that a choirmaster, in 1670, was worried about the children sitting quietly all through the long Christmas nativity service. So he gave them something to eat to keep them quiet! As he wanted to remind them of Christmas, he made them into a 'J' shape like a shepherds crook, to remind them of the shepherds that visited the baby Jesus at the first Christmas. However, the earliest records of 'candy canes' comes from over 200 years later, so the story, although rather nice, probably isn't true!

Sometime around 1900 the red stripes were added and they were flavored with peppermint or wintergreen.

Sometimes other Christian meanings are giving to the parts of the canes. The 'J' can also mean Jesus. The white of the cane can represent the purity of Jesus Christ and the 5 red stripes are for the blood he shed when he died on the cross. The peppermint flavor can represent the hyssop plant that was used for purifying in the Bible.

Around 1920, Bob McCormack, from Georgia, USA, started making canes for his friends and family. They became more and more popular and he started his own business called Bob's Candies. Bob McCormack's brother-in-law, Gregory Harding Keller, who was a Catholic priest, invented the 'Keller Machine' that made turning straight candy sticks into curved candy canes automatically! In 2005, Bob's Candies was bought by Farley and Sathers but they still make candy canes!

Candy Cane Legend – How it relates to Jesus?

The candy cane is in the shape of a shepherd’s staff.  Jesus is our Shepherd, and we are His flock.  Sheep follows his shepherd, knows his voice, and trusts him. The sheep knows that he is totally safe with him.  This is how we are to be with Jesus if we truly follow Him. John 10:11 New International Version “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Did you know, the upside down the candy cane is a “J” shape, the first letter of the name Jesus.  (Luke 1:31)  The candy cane is made of hard candy to remind us that Christ is the rock of our salvation.

The wide red stripes on a candy cane represent the blood he shed on the cross for each one of us so that we can have eternal life through Him.  He redeems us and cleanses us with His shed blood. Luke 22:20  New International Version In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “ This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

The white stripes on a candy cane represent the virgin birth, sinless life and purity of our Lord.  He is the only human being who ever lived on this earth who never committed a single sin.  Even though He was tempted just as we are, He never sinned. 1 Peter 2:22 New International Version  “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

The narrow red stripes on candy canes represent that by His wounds, we are healed.  Before the crucifixion Jesus was beaten; the crown of thorns was on His head; His back was raw from the whip.  Those wounds heal us. Isaiah 53:5 New International Version “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

The flavoring in the candy cane is peppermint, which is similar to hyssop.  If you are not aware, Hyssop is in the mint family and was used in Old Testament for purification and sacrifice. John 19:29 New International Version “A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.”

When we break our candy cane, it reminds us that Jesus’ body was broken for us.  When we have communion, it reminds us of what He did for us. And, if we share our broken candy cane with love, it represents sharing the love of Christ.

God gave Himself to us when He sent Jesus.  He loved us so much He wants us to spend eternal life with Him.

Tinsel and The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Tinsel was also created in Germany, were it was originally made from thin strips of beaten silver. But when plastic/man made tinsel was invented, it became very popular as it was much cheaper than real silver and also lighter to go on the tree!

There are also folk stories about how tinsel was created - by The Christmas Spider!

These tales seem to have started in Eastern Germany or Ukraine but are also told in parts of Finland and Scandinavia. The stories are now also popular in other countries such as the USA; although I live in the UK and most people in my country have never heard of the story/legend!

All the versions of the story involve a poor family who can't afford to decorate a Tree for Christmas (in some versions the tree grew from a pine cone in their house, in others the family have bought a tree into the house). When the children go to sleep on Christmas Eve a spider covers the tree in cobwebs. Then on Christmas morning the cobwebs are magically turned into silver and gold strands which decorate the tree!

Some versions of the story say that it's the light of the sun which changed the cobwebs into silver and gold but other versions say it's St Nicholas / Santa Claus / Father Christmas / das Christkind which made the magic happen.

In parts of Germany, Poland, and Ukraine it's meant to be good luck to find a spider or a spider's web on your Christmas Tree. Spider's web Christmas Tree decorations are also popular in Ukraine. They're called 'pavuchky' (which means 'little spider') and the decorations are normally made of paper and silver wire. You might even put an artificial spider's web on your tree!