Now a lot of critics are shocked or even angry that our new president won the prize. They say he doesn't deserve it. He's too new, too inexperienced.
Why would this wonderful news make people so angry? Could some of these critics just be angry that a black man is our president?
It's not such a radical idea. Even former President Jimmy Carter has said recently that some of the animosity against Obama is based on race.
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter said in media reports.
When you are a person of color who succeeds in the world, some people will question your qualifications. They will say you don't deserve to be in the room, that you're only there because of Affirmative Action, that you lack experience.
Obama certainly faced these criticisms during the campaign even from some leaders within the Democratic Party. And we know what some extreme Republicans think.
I'm not saying all Obama's critics are racist but I wonder if this doesn't play a role in some of the anger towards him.
But awards like the Nobel Peace Prize are symbolic and it's disturbing and ironic to see some people get so angry over an award given for peace.
I think Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because he is changing direction and breaking with the unilateralism of the former Bush Administration.
These past winners were not elected officials but they were fighters for social justice and messengers of peace and hope. They were important leaders of people that faced oppression.
Obama's election as our president brought together people of all races, classes and walks of life to break a racial barrier in the United States. That is historic in itself.
Clearly, Obama has much more work ahead of him.
Perhaps the Nobel committee aims to influence Obama to consider peace at this critical juncture in his presidency. And that can have more impact now instead of giving an award to him at the end of his presidency.
I hope this award will influence Obama to make the right decisions to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I hope that it will empower Obama in his fight for social justice, which includes passing health care and immigration reform.
And that it will impact his Administration's decisions to reduce nuclear arms and protect the environment.
Obama said this morning he was humbled and surprised by the honor. "I will accept this award as a call to action," he said in a statement from the Rose Garden.
Like the statesman he is, Obama didn't make this award about him but about us. It's not only about what he will aim to do but about what other governments and individuals can do to achieve peace and freedom in the world.