“Jesus Christ: Our Source of Joy,” New Era, Feb. 2020, 48.
The prophet Lehi declared boldly and without reservation a principle as revealed by the Lord: “Men are, that they might have joy” (2 Nephi 2:25). Imagine! Of all the words he could have used to describe the nature and purpose of our lives here in mortality, he chose the word joy!
Life is filled with detours and dead ends, trials and challenges of every kind. Each of us has likely had times when distress, anguish, and despair almost consumed us. Yet we are here to have joy?
Yes! The answer is a resounding yes! But how is that possible? And what must we do to claim the joy that Heavenly Father has in store for us? The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.
When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation, and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy. We feel it at Christmastime when we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come” (Hymns, no. 201). And we can feel it all year round. For Latter-day Saints, Jesus Christ is joy!
How, then, can we claim that joy? We can start by “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) “in every thought” (Doctrine and Covenants 6:36). We can give thanks for Him in our prayers and by keeping covenants we’ve made with Him and our Heavenly Father. As our Savior becomes more and more real to us and as we plead for His joy to be given to us, our joy will increase.
Heed these words of the Psalmist: “I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. … In [His] presence is fulness of joy” (Psalm 16:8,11). As this principle is embedded in our hearts, each and every day can be a day of joy and gladness (see Isaiah 35:10; 2 Nephi 8:3).