When Marley visits Scrooge at the beginning of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge's attitude towards the visits of the spirits is very blasé. He jokes, for example, about receiving the spirits all at once. This attitude changes, however, when Scrooge is visited by the first of the three spirits, the Ghost of Christmas Past. In this instance, Scrooge reacts with a "trembling" lip and he tries to put out the spirit's light, an action which is symbolic of Scrooge's misanthropic and miserly character.
Similarly, Scrooge greets the Ghost of Christmas Present "timidly" and feels genuine fear when he meets the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come:
Scrooge feared the silent shape so much that his legs trembled beneath him, and he found that he could hardly stand when he prepared to follow it.
By the fifth stave, however, Scrooge's character is totally transformed, as is evident by his changing reaction to the spirits, as he comments,
"The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me."
No longer mocking nor afraid, Scrooge finally appreciates the purpose of the spirits' visits.