At the Eucharistic celebration on Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent, we hear read aloud part of Psalm 25, beginning at verse 4. That verse is:
4 Make known to me your ways, Lord; teach me your paths. 
The sense of that verb “know” is rendered here as “make known.” G.A.F. Knight’s remark captures best what this means when he comments, “Teach me what I already know…. Perhaps we might say: ‘Make what I learned in Sunday School come alive for me now.’”  We are being introduced to the concept of degrees of knowledge.
What the Psalmist recognizes is that we often say that we “know” God or people, but we do not really know them at all. How is this possible? Why do we say that we “know” when we do not?
Well, we could understand this like St. Paul does when he writes in 1 Corinthians 13:12:
12 At present we are people looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole, and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me! 
Here the point is that now, and here, I only have and know a few “pieces” of the “puzzle” of a person. But later I will have and know more of the pieces … and eventually all of them when I can know other persons or things as God does. In this case, the “degrees” of knowledge are about pieces of content – the more content I have; the more completely I know.
Or so it seems.
But isn’t it true that it is often the case that the more content of knowledge we have about people to whom we are especially close, the more we can know too much about them … and completely misunderstand them? How strange!
Isn’t it our actual experience that knowing those we love is not primarily about knowing a lot of facts about them? Rather, don’t we long to experience the existence the precious and unshielded other – my beloved spouse or child or friend – in such a way that I might rightly exclaim that I have never really known him or her until now?
It is one thing to “know” facts about another person; it is quite another thing to have a direct and profound experience of the inner reality of a person – to encounter his or her sovereign otherness – such that all the facts one has amassed about him or her just don’t seem to matter much, or nearly as much.
This latter “knowing” is what St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) translates in Spanish by the verb sentir, and which we translate in English as “felt knowledge” – I know someone or a divine Someone because he or she has made himself or herself open and known to me. I am caught up in the otherness of him or her, and I feel changed by that experience. Others speak of this direct encounter with the truth of someone as experiential knowledge of him or her. Or again, the Old Testament speaks of the unique way that a married man and woman can “know” each other: a direct, unshielded encounter with the depth and preciousness of one’s spouse – I do know him or her. In this regard, we have traditionally spoken of the Church as Christ’s “spouse.” Finally, notice how God chose not to deliver to us a content of (religious) knowledge at Christmas, but He sent Himself as a living person – a child? We don’t “know” children; we experience them and love them … and so know them.
So, here is a question that I am pondering this Christmas. What kind of knowing does one have of a person who gives me a gift under the Christmas tree? Does a gift he or she gives supply to me a further “content” of knowledge about the giver? And if so, what is the more that I know now? Or, does a gift he or she gives me cause me to experience directly the soul of the giver, his or her precious existence made obvious in this that he or she watches me receive from him or her, and then open it up on Christmas morning?
What is it that I know on Christmas morning, there among the gifts?
 New American Bible (Revised Edition.; Washington, DC: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011), Ps 25:4.
 George Angus Fulton Knight, Psalms (vol. 1; The Daily Study Bible Series; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 123.
 J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) – The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Philips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission. My boldfacing in the text.