Thousands gathered in Vatican City for a Christmas Eve mass with the pope.
He called on Christians to show more empathy towards family and friends, emphasizing that the world needs tenderness this Christmas.
Before the service, Pope Francis called Christian refugees at a camp in Iraq.
He told them that they were like Jesus, forced to leave because there was no place for them.
The refugees have fled Islamic state fighters who have persecuted Shiite Muslims and Christians in Iraq and Syria.
Pope Francis will deliver his traditional Christmas message and the apostolic blessing in St. Peter's Square later Thursday.