The celebration of the winter solstice is a celebration of the sun. Sun equals life and its absence in winter is so very obvious in my part of the world.
The tradition of the solstice observance and the worship of the sun stretches back millennia in time. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites such as Stonehenge in Britain and New Grange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge).
The sun travels in an astounding yearly journey across the Nordic sky as it creates a difference of almost eleven hours in daylight between our June and December. However, throughout the seasons, it is at all times a source of awe and beauty. In spring and autumn, it creates magical sunsets and paints the evening sky in every shade of orange, red and purple. It gives rise to endless days in the summer, never truly setting, during the magical white nights, as it slowly moves into a late night sunrise. And then it becomes absent in the winter, when our daylight is a twilight at the best and we can barely glimpse the golden disc in the absolute south, if the winter day is clear.
Therefore today is a very important day to us living in Scandinavia. The longest night is upon us, thus signifying the return of the sun.