Merry Christmas: Photos from around the world

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Vatican Christmas
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Vatican Christmas
Pope Benedict XVI holds the pastoral staff as he celebrates the Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. Heralded by the blare of trumpets reflecting Christmas joy, Pope Benedict XVI is presiding over Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, packed with tourists, Romans and other faithful. The ceremony began at 10 p.m. (2100 GMT) Monday night instead of the traditional midnight start time, which was changed at the Vatican years ago to let the pontiff rest before a Christmas Day speech to be delivered the next day from the basilica's central balcony. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)