WATCH: Queen Elizabeth reflects on "moments of darkness" in Christmas Day speech

Religious and world leaders have delivered special messages to mark the end of 2015

WATCH: Queen Elizabeth reflects on "moments of darkness" in Christmas Day speech

Picture by: John Stillwell / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Religious and world leaders have been issuing special messages for Christmas Day.

Britain's Queen spoke about the "moments of darkness" faced by many across the globe this year and highlighted the Bible as a source of solace during her Christmas Day address.

Queen Elizabeth also acknowledged the birth of her fifth great grandchild Princess Charlotte and made a light-hearted reference to her 90th birthday in April.

The monarch also quoted a verse from the Bible:

Pope Francis has midnight mass at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City - saying it was time for Christians to "discover their identity".

He urged them not to be intoxicated by "consumerism, hedonism and wealth."

Security was tighter than normal for the 10,000 people who attended the service this year.

The pontiff also called on the world to unite to end atrocities by Islamist militants that he says are causing immense suffering.

He's criticised the destruction of cultural heritage, in a reference to IS - saying their actions don't even spare the historical and cultural symbols of entire peoples.

Meanwhile, the father of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi gave an alternative Christmas message on Channel 4, calling on people to "open their doors to Syrians".

Here in Ireland, Panti Bliss, aka Rory O'Neill, delivered the 'Queen of Ireland's Christmas Message' on TV3 - saying the passing of the Marriage Referendum in May marked a "fresh start" for Ireland's LGBT community. 

On Christmas Eve, the Taoiseach's message was directed particularly at people returning back to Ireland for Christmas.

Enda Kenny wants them to consider coming home for good, as the economy begins to create more jobs again.

This year's figures showed 12,000 Irish citizens moved back to Ireland - but another 35,000 left.

The Taoiseach hopes some of those people visiting Ireland for Christmas will choose to remain for good after taking the opportunity to reflect on the 'changed state of Ireland':

In his midnight mass homily, Primate of All Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin said said the season challenges individuals and society to ask whether enough has been done "to make peace, to help relieve poverty, hunger, homelessness and the plight of refugees.

He also called on people to reflect on "whether or not we have reached out to those around us who are experiencing isolation, persecution and loneliness, despair or hopelessness".