Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4
We come now to a marvelous section of verses in 1 Corinthians 13:4–13 that gives us the characteristics of true, Christlike love. Today we want to look at the virtues of love mentioned in verse 4. I think you’ll agree with me that we are going to need to display these virtues during the Christmas season. Even with all the joy and delight of this special season, Christmas can also be a time of high stress for many individuals and families. We need patience, with ourselves and others.
So the first virtue of love Paul mentions in verse 4 is that love “suffers long.” That is, love is literally “long of temper.” It is patient. It doesn’t fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. Some people say, “Well, I don’t have much patience.” What they are really saying is, “I don’t have much love.” A lack of patience is in reality a lack of love.
Then we read that love “is kind.” Christmas is a season when even people who aren’t ordinarily kind try to make an effort to be nice to others. But for the child of God, being kind is not a one-time effort. Kindness and courtesy are to characterize our treatment of people every day. Don’t ever underestimate what kindness can do. The world is watching to see if we care.
Third, real love “does not envy.” In other words, it is not jealous. If you have love, you’ll be willing to give credit where credit is due. You’re not going to think that somebody else’s gain is your loss. You won’t cringe when other people are recognized. A fourth virtue of true love is humility. How our world needs a large dose of this! We’re so used to people bragging and swaggering. But love doesn’t “puff up” the heart with pride and cause the head to swell with self-importance. True love says, “I am sorry. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” If you and your family radiate these virtues of love, this will truly be a merry Christmas for you!
Using the four virtues of love listed in the verse for today, compose a family poem or a song that expresses your desire to show the love of Christ to each other and to the world this Christmas. Do a random act of kindness for someone you know to show that you love them.
Take advantage of the related activities and resources at ExperienceChristmas.org.