Millions celebrate Christmas around the world

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NEW YORK —  From Bethlehem to Sydney, Australia, and all corners of the world, millions of Christians are welcoming Christmas.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis celebrated an evening mass at Saint Peter’S Basilica. The pope’s message: shun materialism. Instead, focus on the holiday’s message of simplicity, charity and love.

In Bethlehem, lines of pilgrims squeezed through the sandstone entrance to the basilica, whose grotto, the faithful believe, is the birthplace of Jesus.

Tourism officials say Bethlehem is enjoying its busiest Christmas season on record.

In Karachi, Pakistan, the tiny christian community attended midnight mass amid tight security.

In Britain, Queen Elizabeth extolled goodwill and understanding in a Christmas message to the nation.

“Even the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step.”

While in Indonesia, church-goers prayed for victims of Saturday night’s devastating tsunami that killed hundreds.

In Washington, President Donald Trump and the First Lady attended mass at the Washington National Cathedral. The first couple likely would have gone to services near Mr. Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida estate, but the President decided to stay in the capital amid the partial government shutdown and border wall stalemate.

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