A Christmas wish: Eternal light, burning bright on midnight clear

Published: December 25, 2012
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NO man ever spoke like him.

He came from out of nowhere, or so it seemed. He had no national name recognition, no family connections, no rich uncle. Yet he built a coalition that remains today.

He was enormously popular at times, but scorned and criticized at others. He was plain spoken, spoke from the heart, hardly took time for his own needs, needed little and provided much.

He pulled unspeakable joy out of the bellies of the downcast yet stuffed self-righteousness down the throats of the sanctimonious.

He turned the tables on convention. He cast out false assumptions, sickened the establishment and established hope for the sick.

Were he with us today, in the flesh, liberals would love his compassion but hate his pragmatism. Conservatives would love his pragmatism but squirm at his tolerance. Moderates would hate his exclusivism but love his universality.

He could be all things to all people, if only the people would let him. He offered drunks, dopers and sex addicts two steps — not 12 — to recovery. He told people they were responsible for their own actions and to stop wearing their piety on their sleeves. He ran a lost-and-found service. His door was always open.

He was never politically correct. His monologues comforted and offended at the same time. His oblique stories left a lasting impression. No man had ever spoken the way this man did. No one has since.

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