As people from across the world celebrated Christmas, Pope Francis had quite a different message. In a speech delivered on Tuesday at Vatican City, Pope Francis called for peace in conflict zones including Syria and Yemen.
The head of Catholic Christians turned his thoughts to Yemen and hoped "that the truce brokered by the international community may finally bring relief to all those children and people exhausted by war and famine."
He also shed light on the Syrian crisis, praying the country will "find fraternity after these long years of war."
"May the international community work decisively for a political solution that can put aside divisions and partisan interests, so that the Syrian people, especially all those who were forced to leave their own lands and seek refuge elsewhere, can return to live in peace in their own country," he said.
The war in Yemen - which began in March 2015 - has seen about 10,000 people get killed and about 14 million on the verge of starvation. A child dies every 10 minutes from preventable diseases in the war-torn country.
The Syrian civil war - which began in 2011 - has not only taken a toll on the lives of millions of people and the country's economy, but has also taken a part of Syria that cannot be brought back. In 2014, the "world's consciousness was meant to be shaken when 1 million children from Syria became refugees," wrote Geert Cappelaere, regional director at UNICEF MENA, earlier this year. Today, that number has reached 2.5 million.
The longest struggle in the Arab world to date is that of Palestine, dating back to 1948. Pope Francis expressed hope in the Israeli-Palestine conflict, which has led to the displacement of millions of Palestinians and the destruction of their homes and villages.
Pope Francis expressed hope in renewed talks between the Israelis and Palestinians to "undertake a journey of peace that can put an end to a conflict that for over 70 years has lacerated the land chosen by the Lord to show his face of love."
Anton Salman, the mayor of Palestinian town Bethlehem (also the birthplace of Jesus) said "the message of Palestinians on Christmas is that we are staying in the holy land and will maintain it and resist the occupation until our national goals are achieved, specifically independence and establishing a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital", according to Ma'an news.