Love is patient.
I'm quite sure that by this time, in families where there are young children, the question will be asked: "How many sleeps till Christmas?" Patience is not one of the virtues enjoyed by young children. But we adults may find patience is not something that comes easily to us either. When Paul says that "love is patient", he is telling us about something that is really beautiful and is also quite counter-cultural in today's world.
Patience is a great characteristic of the Lord himself. In Romans 2:4, Paul speaks of the patience of God, and here in 1 Corinthians 13:4, the Apostle tells us that this kind of patience is so unlike what you find among worldly people. In the world in which Paul lived, patience was not a virtue. People would refuse to tolerate any insult or injury. But Christian patience did not react with anger in such circumstances. Christian patience is 'wedded' to love, and love to patience — they are a great couple! When we read: "love is patient", it means "it never gives up." (The Message) There is an optimism in it that is going to seek the best for someone even if it takes a long time.
"Love is patient" — it is in that spirit that God himself has dealt with us. Not many people rush to follow Jesus the very first time they hear the Gospel. But in patient love, God allows us to hear the Gospel over and over again until we come to believe in Jesus. Thank God for such patience!
How we thank you, O Lord, for your love which has brought us to trust in Jesus. Amen.