Pope Benedict XVI urged people in his Christmas Message on Tuesday to not lose hope that there will be peace in the world, saying that the birth of Christ "is a flowering of new life for all humanity."
The 85-year-old pontiff reviewed the situation in the world and called for an end to the violence in Syria and assistance for refugees.
The pope told the thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Urbi et Orbi - Latin for "To the City and to the World" - message that they must never lose hope.
"This human ability to be closed to God can make us fearful. But see the reality which chases away this gloomy thought, the hope that conquers fear: truth has sprung up! God is born!" the pope said.
Benedict XVI referred to "deeply wounded" Syria in his message and called for an end to the killing in the Middle Eastern country.
"Yes, may peace spring up for the people of Syria, deeply wounded and divided by a conflict which does not spare even the defenseless and reaps innocent victims. Once again I appeal for an end to the bloodshed, easier access for the relief of refugees and the displaced, and dialogue in the pursuit of a political solution to the conflict," the pope said.
The pontiff also mentioned countries in Africa, especially Egypt, that have been rocked by political turmoil as they seek a better future.
"In the countries of North Africa, which are experiencing a major transition in pursuit of a new future - and especially the beloved land of Egypt, blessed by the childhood of Jesus - may citizens work together to build societies founded on justice and respect for the freedom and dignity of every person," the pope said.
Pope Benedict XVI also called for peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
"May peace spring up in the Land where the Redeemer was born, and may he grant Israelis and Palestinians courage to end long years of conflict and division, and to embark resolutely on the path of negotiation," the pontiff said.
Benedict XVI extended his message of peace to Asia, Latin American and Africa.
"May every land become a good earth which receives and brings forth kindness and truth, justice and peace. Happy Christmas to all of you!" the pope said. EFE