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TNETNOC: A special star an a backward story

Six years ago, Gary Fox sat in church with thoughts running through his head that he tried to shake.

Without any warning, he and 45 of his co-workers had been laid off from their jobs. It was Christmastime and Fox had a wife and four children. As he looked around the sanctuary, he polled the congregation. This man had a good job. That one owned a business. Another had just gotten a promotion.

“Those were not thoughts that I should have been having,” Fox said. “But, I guess it was natural to be thinking that way.”

Fox had been involved in the children’s ministry of his church for years and often wrote what he called parables for children – short stories with a lesson, stories with a Biblical principle.

As he sat in church that night and watched the Christmas musical unfold, his thoughts turned away for his personal situation to the star that shined so brightly on the night the Christ Child was born.

“Suddenly, it came to me that no one had ever written the Christmas story from the perspective of the star,” he said.

“A story began to form in my head. When I got home, I started to move the story from my head to the computer before I lost it. I was up most of the night writing the story of the Christmas star.”

The story was of a little star, which like Fox on that night of confusion and frustration, found itself wondering why.

“The star wondered why it couldn’t shoot across the sky like many of the other stars,” Fox said.

“It wondered why it wasn’t noticed like the North Star or didn’t have a place of prominence in a constellation.”

The little star was so wrapped up in his own pity party that he had things all backwards.

Instead of focusing on what he was created to do, the little star was discouraged because he could not do what other stars could do, Fox said.

The story has a happy ending because the little star found its purpose. It became the Star of Bethlehem.

“God had a special purpose for the little star all along, just as He has for all of us,” Fox said.

The star’s name is Tnetnoc, which is a rather strange name, Fox said. “But when the little star saw its name in the mirror, reversed, it read ‘content’ and contentment is God’s gift to us.

The story was one worth sharing but for about five years the star’s story was left untold. Then, about a year ago, Fox took advantage of an opportunity to publish his book titled “Tnetnoc: A Special Star.”

Last week, Fox had a special opportunity to share his book with the children in two hospitals in Chicago through the South Suburban Area Project.

Fox, his wife and daughter traveled to Chicago and presented books to both hospitals for the children to enjoy and find a lesson within at Christmastime.

“My mother made a Tnetnoc mascot costume and my daughter, Lindsey wore the costume,” Fox said. “It was a very special time for all of us.”

Fox said he would like to invite everyone to his book signing from 2 until 5 p.m. Friday at Barnes and Nobel on the campus of Troy University.

“Even if you don’t plan to buy a book, come by meet Tnetnoc and visit with me and this special star,” he said.