Sometimes, the conventional wisdom gets it right, and that’s the case with the common designation of, “It’s a Wonderful Life” as the greatest Christmas movie ever made. This 1947 masterpiece celebrates the classic American virtues—small business, devotion to family, neighborliness and ordinary decency. Jimmy Stewart embodies the Yankee hero: unassuming, tender-hearted and utterly essential to his community and his neighbors.
On my radio show and in two of my books, I’ve recommended the “Bedford Falls Test” to understand America’s role in the world. A Christmas angel shows George Bailey a vision of how horribly his town would have fared if he hadn’t lived. Just imagine how terribly the world would have suffered without America! Remembering the precious contributions that every day people bring to our lives helped George Bailey, and it can help the rest of us, to better appreciate the “Wonderful Life” we’re blessed to live.