What is the author implying when he states Scrooge is "as close to it as I am now to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow."
The narrator says this right before the Ghost of Christmas Past appears and Scrooge first meets the spirit in Stave Two.
Charles Dickens's novella A Christmas Carol is, interestingly, told by both first-person and third-person narrators. In the first Stave and into part of the second Stave, there is a first-person narrator who later makes way for the objective narrator once the characters begin to interact with one another. So, after Marley's ghost has appeared to old Ebenezer Scrooge and informed him that three spirits will come to visit him, Scrooge falls asleep for a long time. He awakens to hear his clock striking twelve; he remembers that the Ghost has warned him of a visitation after the clock tolls one. Scrooge, therefore, listens intently until the clock, indeed, strikes one o'clock. Just as Scrooge remarks that it is one o'clock, the curtains at his bed part where he has lain his head. Scrooge finds himself face to face with "the unearthly visitor who drew them"
as close to it as I am to you, and I am standing in the spirit at your elbow.
Here the narrator implies that he, too, is in spirit form. Not only is he in this ethereal form, but he, like the ghost of Christmas Past, is right beside the reader. Thus, the implication is that the reader may be in the same position as Scrooge: too greedy for power and money that he neglects the more valuable things in life such as loved ones and expressions of love. Thus, the tale of Scrooge and the three spirits serves to educate Scrooge and his readers both.