There is a place called "Haven" both in War Of The Gods and in Hrolf Kraki's Saga but I am not yet clear whether these are the same place. In War..., Hadding rules from Haven where he leads the Yule offering. His housecarles fill horns with ale which Hadding blesses and passes to worshipers who take long to pass round. He leads them in draining the horns to Odin, Thor and the Vanir. Then he blesses soup with chunks of meat, fat and leeks which is ladled into bowls for the worshipers who feast, guesting the gods. Thus, a pagan communion ceremony with the king as priest.
"Among the heathen, the midwinter rites honor chiefly Thor, who stands between our earth and the giants of endless ice and night. Belief is that on the eve of it, all kinds of trolls and spooks run loose across the world; but next day the sun turns again homeward and hope is reborn."
-Poul Anderson, Hrolf Kraki's Saga (New York, 1973), p. 29.
People could not be sure that the sun would turn. Renewed hope was a real experience. Something stands between earth and endless ice and night. Thor is a good personification of it.