While it may seem inevitable that every musician eventually puts out a Christmas album, it took Kerry more than 30 years to finally get to his. In part, it’s because he didn’t want to merely record variations of the same traditional songs. Instead, he had to let time do what time does best—cultivate life experiences, deepen relationships, hone talent and develop courage. These are just some of the things he needed in order to create an album that reflects his own experience of Christmas, which is far more than merely exulting the joy and glory of the season. “I believe in Christmas and what it stands for—peace, grace, an experience of the sacred—but that doesn’t mean I’m not also cynical, sad, frustrated, angry and intolerant. Every time I heard a new Christmas album I thought, ‘why isn’t there one that addresses the challenges of the season or tells the birth story in maybe a more profound way?’ So decided to do that. Combine the Christian and the secular, the cynical and the sacred.”
To be clear, love is the heart of Christmas, but his songs grapple with issues of war and loss alongside the Christian themes of miracles and faith. He also pays homage to what might be the most treasured and reviled dessert in history: the fruitcake. And, as an added bonus for anyone who has not had the pleasure of experiencing Kerry perform live, he includes a humorous rant against holiday consumerism. The Heart of Christmas is just that: filled with heart. It makes room for a broad range of conflicting emotions and ultimately leads us back to the reason we celebrate: love.