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I think some people enjoy being offended.

We all tend to be dramatic at different times, but I do believe some individuals are gifted at the art of being offended.

You know the type.

They seem to assume the worst intent in others’ words. They scour the Internet for opposing viewpoints and then rant on their blog about what they found. They thrive on controversy and often are not too careful to avoid offending others themselves.

Or they just miss the point altogether. Let me offer you an example:

Recently I read a note on Facebook in which a friend from high school — now a young Air Force wife — complained about the “Support the Troops” car magnets.

They are inaccurate, she says. Likewise are any mentions of the “soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Don’t people realize that they are leaving out all the marines, airmen, seamen and non combative service members? Don’t people understand that the correct way to refer to those in our military is “men and women in the armed forces” or “armed forces members?”

Perhaps my friend simply wanted to edify others on correct word usage, and I absolutely concede her point, but her tone was angry and accusatory. I think she missed the bigger picture.

I feel at least slightly qualified to comment on this topic. I will be marrying into the Air Force in six months, and I have friends in every branch of the military.

They are not all soldiers. They are exuberantly proud of their respective branches, but they appreciate the yellow ribbons and display of support from home.

They choose to recognize the good intentions of others.

After all, most people mean well, most of the time.

We would all do well, myself included, to remind ourselves of this from time to time.

Unfortunately, we will likely see the easily offended out in full force over the next few weeks in the latest saga of the battle between “happy holidays” and “merry Christmas.”

Both sides are at fault here.

A friendly bus driver, store clerk or customer who wishes you a “merry Christmas” is not trying to convert you or disparage your chosen holiday. Likewise, the “happy holidays” well-wisher is not trying single-handedly to take Christ out of Christmas for you.

Rather, both are likely wishing you a warm, healthy, joyous, peaceful time surrounded by your closest family and friends.

Whichever phrase we hear or say this month, let us make our preparations and celebrations truly happy and merry.

Look for the best in others. Assume the best intentions of them. Be the first to extend a hand or a smile or an apology or forgiveness.

Give the gift of presence over presents.

Happy holidays, ASU. And a merry Christmas, too.

Andrea prays for peace on earth and good will toward men this month. Join her at

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