Bedford Falls vs. Pottersville

In the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George Bailey is given a glimpse of what things would be like without him, he sees his lovely town of Bedford Falls turn into the morally degenerate Pottersville.


One of my friends jokingly said, “Pottersville is a more interesting town to live in than Bedford Falls.”


I told him, “You’re missing the whole point of the movie!”


You see, the movie, with its message that every life has a purpose and a meaning, is my top favorite Christmas movie of all time. When George Bailey sees how much his life makes a difference in his small town, Clarence, his guardian angel says, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”


I’m pretty sentimental and that line makes me cry every single time I watch the movie. It’s so easy to look around at all the negativity in the world, in the nation, in your hometown, in your very own life and feel disheartened and disillusioned like George Bailey. I find that to be especially true around the holidays when you are supposed to feel joyful and hopeful and things are just going wrong or not how you planned.


It’s frustrating. You may feel hopeless.


But there is hope, and He came in the form of a man named Jesus Christ. In Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he writes, “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope, and hope will not disappoint us.”


It may seem odd to think that suffering and perseverance in that suffering can bring out something good. But think of the time in which St. Paul was writing—and think of, for example, a blacksmith making a sword in a fire. The only way to make a sword is to place it in the fire and bang it with a hammer over and over again until it is strong enough to withstand any battle.


The same is true in our life. When we withstand suffering and persevere, it makes us that much stronger. The same was true in George Bailey’s life. His wasn’t an easy road, but he persevered.


Comments? Questions? Want to share your favorite Christmas movie? Please do!



2 thoughts on “Bedford Falls vs. Pottersville”

  1. Yah, But Pottersville is still a more interesting town. I moved to NYC more than 30 years ago and let’s face it New York City is Pottersville on steroids! Besides, there are a lot more souls that need saving in Pottersville than in morally upright, even sanctimonious Bedford Falls! Uncle Billy really should have gotten help for his alcohol problem!


  2. This is my favorite Christmas move too! And I love your example of the sword maker, having to beat the iron over and over again to make a strong sword. It reminds me of another quote I recently read by Vicktor Frankl “What is to give light, must endure burning”. More often than not, we can’t see how others are affected by our actions, especially how we react during the worse of times and situations, but it is during these times that we must remember that of all the suffering and bad fortunes that we face, in God’s view these are the necessary trials that make us stronger and lead us down the right path.

    We just have to be strong enough and open our hearts enough to realize and understand that what matters most is what rises forth out of all the pain and suffering. In George Bailey’s case, it was an entire town who was affected by his suffering, but in the end all the pain and suffering he endured allowed so many other lives to be touched in a positive way.


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