By Randy Johnston

Special to the Herald Review

MARION — Maintaining a tradition of nearly 30 years, Marion Baptist Church presents its annual Christmas program at 6 p.m. on Dec. 8.

In “The Christmas Guest,” Jacob Morgan awakens and faces Christmas Eve with sadness. A lonely figure following the recent loss of his wife, he prays for help to overcome feelings of solitude and rediscover cheer at a festive time of year.

Residents of Marion and surrounding communities are invited to learn how a series of unexpected encounters throughout Christmas Eve are an answer to Jacob’s prayer. He learns the blessed Christmas message that by helping others, he brings happiness and fulfillment into his own life. With renewed joy, he welcomes Christmas day as a time of celebration with friends and neighbors.

Written and directed by Peggy Hoard, this year’s production features a cast of children in the speaking parts and a children’s choir singing Christmas songs and carols that bring the story to life.

Hoard, who was born and raised in Marion, has written and directed numerous plays for her church and published magazine articles, poems and short stories. She is chairman of Write to Publish, a writing group that meets in Cadillac.

Taking on other key roles are Merry Cook, music director; Linda England, choir director; Betty Fox, pianist; Floyd Ankney, sound and lighting; Brent and Terry Pritchard, scenery and Orlan England and Kathy York, props.

“It’s been amazing watching both the little kids and the older ones take on the personalities of the people they’re playing,” said Hoard. “They’re really turning into actors and actresses and they enjoy making their roles seem real. The children’s choir adds so much to the program. It helps show the Christmas message and we welcome everyone to come out and see how Jacob Morgan learns to celebrate Christmas again.”

Following the program, sandwiches and desserts of the season will be served.

Area residents are encouraged to get a group of friends and family together to enjoy a special evening of music, worship, fellowship and refreshments. There is no admission charge.

Marion Baptist Church is at 19909 40th Ave., Marion. For further information, call Pastor Dennis Williams at (231) 743-6725.