I wonder if the Mayan calendar date has anything to do with an appearance (or discovery) of some yet unknown celestial body. Something along the lines of what some will interpret the "grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man" to be (a planet, or a comet, etc.). It occurs to me that such a thing would cause quite a stir for a number of years among the nations of the world, assuming that the sign itself is visible for that long. Not unlike the effect that the sign of Christ's first coming had on the Nephites and the Lamanites, albeit the actual appearance of the Savior among them was to be many years later. Perhaps the discovery by NASA of what they would call a star, or a planet, or something else entirely making its way toward Earth would bring about some of the occurrences prophesied of in the scriptures with respect to calamities among nations, and widespread fear and disorder. I realize this notion has more to do with the "grand sign" than with the Mayan calendar, but taking the events of the Book of Mormon as a guide to events of our day, I suppose one could make sense of it. And it is possible to go one step further and infer that the date of December 21, 2012 could have something to do with it.
In short, what I am submitting is that it makes sense to me that whatever the "grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man" will be, it will be seen by many, and for some time before His actual arrival. Such a sight could be interpreted to be so many things that it might cause an acceleration of some of the signs foretold that have to do with mankind's interactions with one another (specifically wars come to mind).
With the condition that the world is in right now, it would not take much to unhinge whatever bastion of peace we currently cling to, so the question of timing really becomes quite secondary to that of how, and in what manner these prophesied events are to unfold. The hypothesis stated above is just one of hundreds, if not thousands of possibilities that could occur on any given day. The fact that one day in particular has been singled out by the ancient Maya civilization to be of relative significance simply means that it has just as much chance of being a day of historic significance, or a turning point if you will, as any other day has. But certainly, it has no less chance than any other day either.
I would like to express my thanks to all who respectfully post their thoughts and views on this forum. I feel that it is a good way to increase our understanding not only of the scriptures, but of each other. This, in my opinion, will always be a positive outcome.