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Sloinneadh

Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah. Matthew 1.17


The Gospel of Matthew begins with an account of Jesus' human ancestry. In Gaelic culture this is called a sloinneadh. In their abbreviated form sloinnidhean are often used instead of a surname to identify people, which is particularly helpful in communities where many share the same surname - of which there is an abundance in the highlands and islands!


There are at least two advantages of referring to a person in this way: it acknowledges their individuality while establishing their place in the community where they belong. In a world where there is so much displacement, prejudice and rejection, this tradition is all the more refreshing.


Jesus encountered plenty of displacement, prejudice and rejection in his day - despite his very comprehensive sloinneadh. So perhaps Advent offers an opportunity to recognise how precious each person is in the community to which they belong, while paying special attention to those who are outcast, such as those who turn to Christ in communities which are hostile to the Christian faith.

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