Lessons from a Stable

By Jeremy Fields, serving with Compassion and Mercy Associates (CAMA) in Mongolia

The following is an adapted excerpt from the Fields family’s January update.

One of our family traditions is to head out on Christmas Day, find ourselves a nice stable, and sing “Away in a Manger.” Admittedly, this is a tad easier for us to do in western Mongolia.

Our desire is to approach the birth of Jesus with the same degree of wonder and praise as the visiting shepherds had. We are of the opinion that “wonder” begins to reach its freezing point at -20 F. Yet, it is always a rewarding experience! This year we took with us the Larry and Krista Lain family, our CAMA coworkers in Mongolia.

Over the years, I’ve become somewhat familiar with the average stable. I know that they are pretty much dirty and smelly (shouldn’t someone market these features to include with our beautiful nativity sets?).

This year what struck me was how tiny and dark a stable actually is, approximately 8′ x 8′ with the roof about shoulder height (only horses and camels would need it higher). An average family has only a handful of animals, and there are no windows—livestock aren’t picky about the view.

History’s Greatest Culture Shock

Needless to say, I was struck once again with the thought that a stable is about the most miserable place possible to be born. It is no wonder that “lying in a manger” is mentioned several times for emphasis in Luke 2. Livestock caretakers would never dream of having a baby in such a cold and cramped, dark and dirty place!

But when Jesus came to be with us, he had NOTHING. And the contrast between Him living in the heavenly courts clothed in splendor, to being a baby wrapped in a cloth, lying in a food trough, is mind-blowing.

He gave up glory, feasts and family, warmth and light and safety . . . “he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7).

It is the greatest “culture shock” in history: the King who gave up his throne to become a slave to His people. He gave it all up, just to be with us.

Praise the Lord, who enters our mess and brings hope with Him!

What You Can Do


Pray for Alliance workers, using the weekly Alliance Prayer Requests.

Learn More

  • Read Crista Lain’s article “A Family Inheritance,” in the January 15 issue of Alliance Life magazine.
  • Check out CAMA, the relief and development arm of The Alliance.


  • Give to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) to support Alliance workers in Mongolia and around the world who are extending the hope of Christ to the lost and discipling new believers.
  • Give now


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