MARION — Seeking shelter under a bridge, huddled by a fire, a homeless woman who appears to possess little of what the world values, will prove to have love and wise words for passing school children in the Marion Baptist Church Christmas musical play to be held Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.

Following a tradition of more than 20 years, hundreds of Marion area residents have found the annual programs, which relate the miracle of the birth of Christ, to be inspiring and filled with the hope and promise of salvation.

Written and directed by Peggy Hoard, this year’s presentation entitled “If Only You Knew the Truth,” features former missionary Esther Siebeneicher in the role of the homeless lady who reveals the true meaning of Christmas.

As the story unfolds, a cast of 30 children and more than two dozen adults bring the events to life singing Christmas songs and carols. Soloist Merry Cook will sing “The Birthday of the King,” and 10-year-old Anna Bailey will sing “Away in a Manger.”

“Anna is always excited and thrilled to be in the church programs,” said her mother, Katina Bailey. “Whatever they ask her to do, she is always happy to take part. This year she’s singing a solo and has a part in the play.”

Other highlights include a mother and son duet — Terry Pritchard on the trumpet with her son Ethan on the piano playing “Silent Night.”

Church member Liz Corner has been attending the programs for over 20 years. “This is one of my favorite things, to see little kids acting and singing the story of Christmas and we can feel their special joy.”

The author and director is a member of Write to Publish and is the featured writer in the group’s December newsletter. Hoard, who was born in Marion, has written and directed nine plays for her church and published magazine articles and poems. Her prize-winning story “My Grandma’s House” was inspired by memories of her grandmother’s home in Marion.

“It helps keep me young working with the children,” said Hoard. “And our story this year is to show that Christmas isn’t the way it’s celebrated by most of the world and to show how it should be centered on the birth of Christ.”

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

Mark your calendars now for Dec. 18. Everyone is invited. Get a group together—bring your friends, neighbors and family 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  (231) 743-6725.