In stave 3, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present. When he sees the very large spirit, the narrator says that Scrooge looked at it “reverently,” which is quite a contrast from the way he initially treated the Ghost of Christmas Past. Further, Scrooge speaks to the spirit “submissively,” saying,
conduct me where you will. I went forth last night on compulsion, and I learnt a lesson which is working now. To-night, if you have aught to teach me, let me profit by it.
With the Ghost of Christmas Past, Scrooge had been dismissive rather than submissive, and he certainly did not treat the spirit with deference or respect. In fact, he implied that if the spirit really cared about Scrooge’s welfare, then the spirit would let Scrooge sleep. Scrooge acknowledges now that he only went with that spirit because he was forced to do so, but he admits that he learned something valuable from the ghost, and this makes him eager to see what lessons this new ghost has to teach him.
When the spirit takes him to the Cratchits’ home, Scrooge watches Tiny Tim. As the happy scene before them fades, Scrooge speaks “with an interest he had never felt before,” saying, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.” When the ghost declares that he sees a vacant seat at the table and a crutch without an owner in the family’s future, Scrooge cries out, “Oh, no, kind Spirit! Say he will be spared.” Then, when the spirit throws Scrooge’s own harsh words and cruel sentiments regarding poor people back in his face,
Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.
Scrooge clearly feels something like affection toward the sickly child—a feeling for which we have seen no prior examples—and he feels bad about the terrible things he said about people like the Cratchits just the day before. He is clearly changing for the better.