Christmas Eve celebrations take place in Bethlehem

( Thousands of Christian pilgrims visited the city of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Tuesday. 

Christian pilgrims from around the world attended Christmas Eve celebrations in Bethlehem. Credit: Wikimedia Commons (photo from 2006).

"The message of Christmas is a message of peace, love and brotherhood. We have to be brothers with each other," said Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, as he arrived to the city for Christmas Eve according to Fox News. "It's special to be here where Jesus was born," said Nick Parker, a student from Georgia Tech University.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also gave a Christmas video address to Christians. "We celebrate Christmas with you, we know the importance you attach to our common heritage, to the State of Israel, and the city of Jerusalem where so much of our common history was forged,” he said, the Times of Israel reported. “From the city of peace, Jerusalem, I send the warmest Christmas greetings to all of you. Merry Christmas.”

Pope Francis also gave his Christmas Day address Wednesday from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. As part of his speech, Pope Francis wished that Jesus would "bless the land where you chose to come into the world and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians."

Posted on December 25, 2013 .