Catholics around the world are celebrating Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
In the city itself, Christmas Eve Mass was celebrated at the 1,700-year-old Church of the Nativity, on the spot where it is believed Jesus was born.
Meanwhile in the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI held the traditional Mass at St Peter’s Basilica. He urged Christians to “find time and room for God in their fast-paced lives”.
The Pope prayed that Israelis and Palestinians would be able to live their lives in peace. He also prayed for peace in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
The Mass, usually celebrated at midnight, was brought forward by two hours to avoid tiring the 85-year-old pontiff unduly.
Later on Tuesday, the Pope will deliver his traditional Christmas message – Urbi et Orbi – to the city of Rome and to the world, the BBC reports.