The angel who appeared to King Benjamin declared that his message would bring joy to Benjamin and to his people:
I am come to declare unto you the glad tidings of great joy.
For the Lord hath heard thy prayers, and hath judged of thy righteousness, and hath sent me to declare unto thee that thou mayest rejoice; and that thou mayest declare unto thy people, that they may also be filled with joy (Mosiah 3:3-4).
Samuel the Lamanite likewise testified that an angel had taught him the gospel, “and he did bring glad tidings to my soul” (Helaman 13:7).
In subsequent years, leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ, other people had a similar experience:
Angels did appear unto men, wise men, and did declare unto them glad tidings of great joy (Helaman 16:14).
After the Savior’s birth, the angel who appeared to the shepherds told them that he brought, “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10).
The word “gospel” literally means “good news” (from Old English god “good” + spel “story or message”) (Online Etymology Dictionary). The good news is that we have a Savior who has made it possible for us to overcome our faults and return in purity to the presence of God (3 Nephi 27:13-21).
How does the gospel bring us joy?
As I’ve pondered this question today, I’ve thought of three answers:
1. The gospel brings us joy by showing us how much God loves us.
The real test of a person’s love is their willingness to make sacrifices on our behalf. What, then can we say about a God who was willing to come to earth and dwell in a mortal body (Mosiah 3:5)? What about a God who was willing to suffer horrific abuse leading to a painful death (1 Nephi 19:9)? What if He was willing to suffer “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” so that He could truly empathize with us (Alma 7:11-12)? Doesn’t all of this confirm our importance to Him and His incredible love for us?
2. The gospel brings us joy by showing us that we can change.
It’s easy to become frustrated with ourselves and with others as we see evidence of our deficiencies. As the angel told King Benjamin, “The natural man is an enemy to God.” However, he also testified that God can help us overcome our natural selves and become saints (Mosiah 3:19). Mormon taught that we can be filled with the love of God (Moroni 7:48). And Moroni reassures us that God’s grace is sufficient for every one of us if we choose to love Him (Moroni 10:32-33). The gospel gives us hope that we can become far better than we are today, that God can sanctify us and make us holy.
3. The gospel brings us joy by helping us build strong relationships with other people.
The heavenly host who appeared to the shepherds spoke of peace on earth and goodwill toward men (Luke 2:13-14). The Savior made it clear how much He wanted His disciples to become unified with one another, just as He and His Father are unified (John 17:21, 3 Nephi 19:23, 28-29). After His ministry on the American continent, the people who had interacted with Him were able to live in peace for many years, “and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God” (4 Nephi 1:15-16). Loving, peaceful relationships with other people bring joy into our lives.
Today, I will be grateful for the glad tidings—the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will remember how the gospel has helped me better appreciate God’s love for me, has taught me that I can change, and has enabled me to build strong relationships with other people.