KWAME HOLMAN: The Christmas of 2012 began arriving around the world this evening.
In Bethlehem, Manger Square was adorned in decorations and lights, and Christian pilgrims and others celebrated midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity.
At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI led an early version of midnight mass for hundreds of people in St. Peter's Basilica. Thousands more gathered outside in St. Peter's Square.
And U.S. troops in Afghanistan marked another holiday on the front lines with early Christmas dinners.
QUENTIN BROWN, U.S. Soldier: Like everyone, I am missing the opportunity to be with my family. However, this job comes with a price, and many of the soldiers, they realize that price. So, even though we would like to be with our families, we realize the importance of what we're doing here, and we believe in it.
KWAME HOLMAN: There also was another fatal shooting of an American in Afghanistan today. A policewoman in Kabul killed a U.S. civilian trainer who'd been working with the NATO command. There have been more than 60 such insider attacks this year. This was the first committed by a woman.
In Syria, the U.N.'s envoy to Syria met with President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, but he gave no sign of progress toward halting the civil war. Lakhdar Brahimi spoke with Assad as part of a two-day visit. Brahimi was appointed envoy in September, but he's made little apparent headway. The latest visit came a day after opposition groups reported a government airstrike on a bakery killed at least 60 people.
Authorities in India restricted vehicle and railroad travel in New Delhi today, in the wake of violent protests over a gang rape. On Sunday, police sprayed tear gas and water cannons after crowds began throwing stones and tipping over vehicles. The protesters demanded stronger punishments for crimes against women, after a 23-year old woman was attacked on a public bus last week. The victim was thrown from the bus afterward. She remains in critical condition. Six arrests have been made.
Washington was quiet today with the president and Congress gone for Christmas. But the lack of any fiscal cliff talks worried Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 51 points to close at 13139. The Nasdaq fell eight points to close at 3012.