The Best Absentee Notice

Like me, most children enjoy any excuse to get out of school. One wrote a note to the teacher. “There will be no school this week so Colin can stay home and play video games. From Mrs Teague.” I doubt it worked. Peter forged a note, requesting a four-day break from school. The reason for his absence? “Peter had a heart attack.” He was ten.

Here are some of my favourite absentee notes received by surprised teachers.

  • I kept Monica at home today because she was not feeling too bright.
  • My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
  • Please excuse Ray from school. He has very loose vowels.
  • Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch and when we found it Monday we thought it was Sunday.
  • Please excuse my son. He will be out next week slaughtering goats for his manhood ritual. Thank you!

The greatest absentee notice ever was delivered by an angel at an empty tomb. “He is not here,” said the angel, “He has risen, just as He said! Come, see the place where He lay.” In that place was a pile of grave clothes. But no body. Jesus was alive. His absence from the tomb changed everything.

Philip was born with Down’s syndrome and attended a third-grade Sunday School class. But kids can be heartless, and these kids didn’t readily accept Philip with all his differences. One Sunday the teacher gave little egg-shaped containers to the kids. The children were told to go outside and find some symbol for new life, and put it in their container. They did. Then the teacher opened them one by one. Flowers. Leaves. A butterfly. Then Philip’s was opened. There was nothing in it.

“You don’t ever do things right!” a student said. “There’s nothing there!”

“I did so do it,” Philip insisted. “It’s empty. Like the tomb!”

From then on Philip became an accepted member of the class. He died not long afterward from an infection most normal children would have shrugged off. At the funeral, this class of eight-year-olds marched up to the altar where each of them placed on it an empty egg container.

         Because of that empty tomb we have joy in life and hope in death. Because Jesus was absent from the tomb, someday we will be too. No absentee note needed.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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