By TARIQ PANJA, Associated Press Writer
LONDON - From soldiers who donned red Santa hats in Afghanistan to devoted worshippers visiting Bethlehem, Christians around the world celebrated Christmas Day with the sobering thoughts of peace and tolerance even as open war flared in Somalia.
In his Christmas Day address at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to conflicts across the globe and greater concern for the poor, the exploited and all who suffer.
Speaking from a balcony overlooking St. Peter's Square, the pontiff called for peace in the Middle East, noting in particular the long war between Israel and the Palestinians.
I would like to join hands with the pope and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, may it be full of love, peace and hope.