Apart from the Panagia and Joseph, the first to worship the divine Child were the Shepherds. An Angel of the Lord made known to them that the Savior of the world had been born. This was not a chance event, it did not mean that the particular Shepherds were worthy of this revelation [merely] because they were the closest in proximity [to Christ]. The Shepherds were not chance characters. The experience of this [revelation] presupposes a particular spiritual state of man. According to the Holy Fathers, this happened for many reasons. First, because of the purity of the Shepherds by reason of their solitude and hesychia. Secondly, because the Shepherds were imitators and followers of the way of life and virtues of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament. Thirdly, for it to show that Christ will be the true Shepherd of the Israelite and Gentile people. Fourthly, for it to be seen clearly that Christ chose the most simple-hearted and most capable of receiving this revelation, and not the crafty Scribes and Pharisees. All these things show the method that [we] can use to experience [divine] revelation.
- Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos, "The Nativity of Christ," in Feasts of the Lord, pages 41-42.
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