It is that time of year when societal pressure turns us all into shop-aholics–not because we want to be, but because it’s what everyone expects. So we buy a bunch of stuff that no one really wants and give it to people who already have everything that they already want. The traffic is terrible, the stores are jammed, everyone is short-tempered, they don’t have what you want, you are running short of funds, and you are creating of crisis of both financing and conscience at the same time. We over-consume on a regular basis without giving it much thought. We hurt ourselves because we are only thinking of ourselves and our tremendous righteousness as consumers who have everything: we don’t consider the poor or the hungry–we have met Scrooge and he is us, to paraphrase Pogo. We lead cushy lives, totally intent on satisfying our every need, but we build our castles on the sinking sand of materialism without the foggiest idea that this is not solid rock. We obsess about who might be doing what with whom, which is a total and complete waste of time when we don’t even know how to lead our own pathetic lives. If fact, I always suspect those who complain the loudest without keeping their own doorsteps clean. If we think our materialism will save us, we are so sadly wrong.