MARION — For more than 30 years, hundreds of area residents have looked forward to the annual Christmas program at Marion Baptist Church to usher in the holiday season and relate the miracle of the birth of Christ and the promise of salvation.

At 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 7, the church will once again present the true meaning of Christmas in a new and whimsical musical skit.

Written and directed by Peggy Hoard, this year’s production, “Now I Have a Real Family,” features Grandpa Tom and Mama Mouse who head the cat and mouse families that live in a village church.

As the story unfolds, Allie, an intruder cat, chases a frightened mouse named Freddy into the church. Grandpa Tom and Mama Mouse intervene with wise words of love and the cats and mice bring the story of the first Christmas to life singing traditional hymns and carols.

Everyone in the Marion area is invited to enjoy the charming play and learn how the lives of Allie and Freddy are transformed by the inspiring message they hear.

Hoard, who was born and raised in Marion, has written numerous plays for the church over the years. A collection of favorites has been published in her recent book, "Christmas Skits for Churches," available on the author website peggyhoard.com or at amazon.com.

Terry Pritchard and Ethan Pritchard, a mother and son team, play the roles of Mama Mouse and Grandpa Tom. Ethan is also the featured cellist playing special Christmas selections.

Taking on other key roles are Betty Fox, pianist; Brent Pritchard and Floyd Ankney, stage and props; Denise Brocht, costumes; Felicity Warren and Kaitlyn Richards, makeup; and Jack Johnston, narrator.

Soloist Merry Cook, who is also music director, will sing “No Room in the Inn,” and “Silent Night.”

“Being in the play is a good way for my kids to show that it’s fun to participate in church activities and it’s a good way for kids to begin to witness to others about their faith,” said Katina Bailey, mother of three of the children in the cast.

“I like being with the other kids in the play and I like singing the songs,” said Grant Bailey.

Following the program, sandwiches and desserts of the season will be served. There is no admission charge.

Marion Baptist Church is located at 19909 40th Ave. in Marion. For more information, call Pastor Dennis Williams at (231) 388-0019.