What lesson did Scrooge learn from the first spirit?
The first spirit to visit Scrooge after the ghost of Jacob Marley has visited him is the Ghost of Christmas Past. When Scrooge asks the first spirit why he came to visit, the spirit informs Scrooge he is there to improve his welfare. The spirit then takes Scrooge back in time to see his former self at times in his life when he was a different, more hopeful, and less greedy person. The spirit also reveals that at one point, Scrooge was a lonely boy living in less than ideal conditions. However, at later points in his life, the Spirit of Christmas Past reminds Scrooge of the choices he made, often guided by greed, that have led Scrooge to the lonely life he has now. The lesson the Spirit of Christmas Past brings to Scrooge reminds him that there were once things in his life more important than money, but his choices have left him lonely and alone. The memories the spirit brings to Scrooge distress him to the point that he begs to be released from them.
“Spirit!” said Scrooge in a broken voice, “remove me from this place.”
“I told you these were shadows of the things that have been,” said the Ghost. “That they are what they are, do not blame me!”
By the time the Ghost of Christmas Past visits, Scrooge has cut himself off from his emotions for so long that he has forgotten how to feel. When the spirit shows him scenes from his past, this awakens in Scrooge a complex set of emotions. He remembers the joy and generosity he experienced from Fezziwig's Christmas party. He also relives the pain he felt when his fiancée broke up with him, to the point he begs the spirit to spare him the "torture" these memories bring.
Through the spirit, Scrooge's complacent life, where he can live happily all alone with his money, is upended. What he learns or relearns is the importance of companionship. He begins to feel how lonely he is, and he begins to miss having people in his life. He particularly regrets letting his girlfriend slip away. He is reminded of her words that he lives his life too much in fear of not having enough money. Regrets flood him. His emotions are painful, and this pain will lead to change.