While is the image is from this year, I wrote the following back in 2013 and it still does a good job of capturing of how I feel about the solstice:
The solstice always makes me think about the humans that came 1000s of years before us. They couldn’t really be sure that days would start getting longer again.
All of our forbearers must have had the fear that maybe the days would keep get shorter and shorter and they would be plunged into darkness. The solstice was clearly an important day to many cultures. In Ireland, the massive ancient monument of New Grange is built on a solstice alignment and the rising sun on the solstice illuminates a chamber deep inside. The Mayans ended their year on the solstice which why their calendar ran out on the solstice causing people to predict the end of the world (in 2012).
In in modern times, our calendar year reset and our biggest holiday celebrations are both quite near the solstice which is no coincidence. Humans have always celebrated or marked the shortest day of the year. As the light fades from the sky on this Winter Solstice, I feel a connection to thousands years of my ancestors who also marked this shortest day of the year.