Pope Benedict has appealed for peace in conflicts around the globe in his traditional Christmas message to thousands of people gathered in Saint Peter's Square in Rome.
The pope, who spoke from a balcony on Tuesday in the basilica, appealed for an end to bloody conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.
Benedict said it is the most vulnerable members of society - women, children and the elderly - who are so often the victims of brutal armed conflicts, terrorism and violence of every kind.
The pope urged political leaders to have the wisdom and courage to end these conflicts around the world.
Benedict expressed hope that the light of Christ would shine forth and bring consolation to those who live in the darkness of poverty, injustice and war.
The message was broadcast live on television and was followed by Christmas greetings in more than 60 different languages.
Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day.