Pope Francis' first Christmas as pope

Updated 8:11 PM ET, Wed December 25, 2013
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Pope Francis delivers his Urbi et Orbi, or "to the city and to the world," message from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Wednesday, December 25. Francis spoke to tens of thousands of tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below. He said he was joining in the song of Christmas angels with all those hoping "for a better world," and with those who "care for others, humbly." Gregorio Borgia/ap
Altar boys in St. Peter's Square attend the Pope's Christmas Day message. The Pope said he is wishing for a better world, with peace for the land of Jesus' birth, for Syria and Africa as well as for the dignity of migrants and refugees fleeing misery and conflict. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
Faithful cheer before the Pope's message. Vatican TV estimated 150,000 attended the blessing in St. Peter's Square, which marked Francis' first Christmas celebration as pope. Gregorio Borgia/ap
The Pope puts on his sash. The Urbi et Orbi address is customarily political and global, as its name indicates. It is Latin and means "to the city (of Rome) and to the world." Popes give the address and blessing on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas. ETTORE FERRARI/epa/LANDOV
Thousands gather at St Peter's Square to hear the Pope's traditional Christmas blessing. The massive turnout on Christmas Day mirrored the popularity Francis has enjoyed since becoming head of the Catholic Church. His reputation for being down to earth and genuinely caring about people has touched a chord with millions. evren atalay/Anadolu Agency/getty images
The pontiff told tens of thousands of people gathered in front of the Vatican on Wednesday where he wants that peace to happen -- in Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Holy Land. Gregorio Borgia/ap
Faithful gather in St. Peter's Square for the Christmas tradition of the Urbi et Orbi blessing. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
"Peace calls for daily commitment," Francis says in his Christmas message. Gregorio Borgia/AP
Swiss guards march prior to the start of the Pope's message. Gregorio Borgia/ap
Pope Francis delivers a blessing at the end of the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on Tuesday, December 24. The Pope rang in his first Christmas at the Vatican with a Christmas Eve Mass preaching a message of love and forgiveness. Gregorio Borgia/ap
The Pope carries a statue of baby Jesus during the celebrations. On Christmas Day, tens of thousands of pilgrims are expected to flood St. Peter's Square to hear his message to the world. Gregorio Borgia/ap
Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin attends the Mass. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
The Pope kisses the book of the Gospels. "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all," the Pope said. Franco Origlia/Getty Images
"On this night, let us share the joy of the Gospel. God loves us. He so loves us that he gave us his son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness. To us the Lord repeats, 'Do not be afraid,' ... And I, too, repeat, do not be afraid,' " the Pope said. Gregorio Borgia/ap
The Pope waves incense during the celebration. Gregorio Borgia/ap
Pope Francis kisses a statue of baby Jesus. "Our Father is patient. He loves us, he gives us Jesus to guide us on the way which leads to the promised land. Jesus is the light who brightened the darkness. Our Father forgives always. He is our peace and light." Gregorio Borgia/ap
The Pope leads the Christmas Eve Mass. "People are listening to him, because he's speaking in a language that's not Vaticanese," said Gerald O'Connell, a Vatican analyst. "He's speaking the language of ordinary people." ETTORE FERRARI/epa/LANDOV
The Pope prays during the service. The festivities began on Saturday, with the Pope's Christmas message to the Curia. He urged the church's governing body to avoid gossip and to focus on service. ETTORE FERRARI/epa/LANDOV
Pope Francis greets a child during the service. Before the Mass, pilgrims gathering in Vatican City told CNN they were excited to celebrate with the Pope. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images