Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas Monday with prayers for peace, especially in the Middle East.
In his traditional Christmas message, Pope Benedict stressed his concern for the region and called for an end to conflicts there, as well as in Darfur and throughout Africa.
The Roman Catholic Church's leader in Jerusalem, Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah, called on Middle East leaders to become "peacemakers" and for the revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.
The leader of the world's Anglicans, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, likened the troubles in the Middle East to those facing all human life, and called for an end to the fighting among Palestinian factions.
In the Holy Land, Christians celebrated Midnight Mass in Bethlehem amid continuing violence. In Lebanon, Christians gathered in churches in Beirut, where an anti-government protest entered its 25th day.
In Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqi Christians celebrated Christmas under high surveillance, while in Asia, millions marked the birth of Jesus despite security alerts and warnings of possible terrorist attacks.