Bethlehem Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal carries the statuette of baby Jesus during the midnight Mass ceremony which marks the beginning of Christmas Day at the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem early on Dec. 25.
Afghanistan Spc. Steven Galvin from Holstein, Iowa, of 2nd Platoon Bravo Company 2-327 Infantry wears a Santa Claus hat as he returns fire during a sudden attack by Taliban on Combat Outpost Badel in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, Dec. 24. U.S. soldiers, including Galvin, were wearing the hats to celebrate Christmas eve inside the small outpost when insurgent fighters shot at them from a hillside outside the base. Still wearing the hats, the soldiers rushed to take defensive positions and returned fire.
Shaanxi Province, China A Christmas tree measuring over 10 meters high, is illuminated beside sculptures of ancient people in the background of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda on Dec. 24 in Xian of Shaanxi Province, China. Christmas is becoming increasingly popular in Chinese consumer culture, along with
Sudan A southern Sudanese man wears a t-shirt reading, "Vote For Your Freedom", as he holds up a cross during a Christmas Eve procession in Juba.
Beirut, Lebanon A Christian choir wearing cowboy hats sings during Christmas Eve celebrations on Dec. 24 in the Ashrafiyeh neighborhood of east Beirut.
Sydney, Australia A group of Santa hat-wearing English tourists attempt to build a pyramid while celebrating Christmas Day at Bondi beach in Sydney, on Dec. 25.
Gaza City Palestinan boys blow a vuvuzela as they watch the Christmas Eve sunset along the sea front in Gaza City.
New York People skate on an ice rink while pedestrians look at the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City on Christmas Eve.