Today is the 357th day of 2015 and the second day of winter.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1783, George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army.
In 1823, the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas" (better known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas") was first published anonymously in the Troy (New York) Sentinel. The poem was later attributed to Clement C. Moore.
In 1954, the first successful kidney transplant was performed at Brigham Hospital in Boston.
In 1986, the lightweight composite aircraft Voyager completed the first nonstop flight around the globe without refueling.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Joseph Smith (1805-1844), religious leader; Madam C.J. Walker (1867-1919), entrepreneur; Akihito (1933- ), emperor of Japan; Harry Shearer (1943- ), actor/comedian; Wesley Clark (1944- ), Army general; Susan Lucci (1946- ), actress; Bill Kristol (1952- ), political commentator; Jim Harbaugh (1963- ), football player/coach; Eddie Vedder (1964- ), singer-songwriter; Hanley Ramirez (1983- ), baseball player.
TODAY'S FACT: In 2006, an original handwritten copy of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" sold in a private sale for $280,000.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Oakland Raiders, 13-7, on a bizarre last-second touchdown that became known as the "Immaculate Reception."
TODAY'S QUOTE: "I am one of those people who thrive on deadlines. Nothing brings on inspiration more readily than desperation." -- Harry Shearer
TODAY'S NUMBER: 16 -- survivors of the "Miracle of the Andes" plane crash rescued on this day in 1972, after surviving for more than two months at the crash site in the mountains along the border between Argentina and Chile.
TODAY'S MOON: Between first quarter moon (Dec. 18) and full moon (Dec. 25).